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Dun Laoghaire's National Yacht Club will be hosting an open evening this Friday to showcase what they have on offer for sailors under the age of 30 writes Will Byrne.

With the clubs fleet now including three J80s, four Elliott 6 metres and six Fireflies, the club will be running a host of programs over the season. These are to range from the formation of an Under 25 keelboat team to a Match Racing and Team Racing series to social sailing outings and cruises.

This is an open event so please come down, bring your friends and join the NYC team at 7 pm in the clubhouse and learn more about how we can get you on the water!

Published in National YC
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The National Yacht Club held a  commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Republic of Ireland with a special flag hoisting ceremony at its East Pier clubhouseon Easter Monday.

The commemoration marked the occasion when the Tricolour was raised by Pierce Purcell, then Commodore of the NYC and Commander of the Maritime Inscription (now the Navy Reserve), on Easter Monday 1949.

Current members of the Navy Reserve hoisted the Tricolour at front of house at the event, attended by Pierce Purcell Jr.

As Afloat reported previously, on Easter Monday 1949, the Tricolour was raised by the then Officer in command of the Dun Laoghaire unit of “Maritime Inscription” and Commodore of the National Yacht Club Pierce Purcell. 

Easter Monday NYC 037(from left) Commander Cormac Rynne Commanding Officer of Naval H.Q. based at Halbowline and Commander of the Naval Reserve, with former NYC Commodores Con Murphy and Ronan Beirne and Lieutenant Commander Stephen Murphy of the Naval Service Reserve based at Cathal Bruagh Barracks, Rathmines with Pierce Purcell Jnr, son of the then NYC Commodore who hands the folded Tricolour to the Lieutenant Commander. Photo: Michael Chester

And on Monday, after the hoisting of the Tricolour by Lieutenant Commander Stephen Murphy seventy years later, the important contribution of the “Maritime Inscription” in the “Emergency” 1939 – 1945 was revisited along with the part played by volunteer members of the NYC in that service.

In an event in the clubhouse after the flag hoisting, Commander Cormac Rynne, Commanding Officer of Naval H.Q. base at Halbowline and Commander of the Naval Reserve, presented the historical background to the “Maritime Inscription”, the Naval Service and the Navy Reserve.

Easter Monday NYC 098Commander Cormac Rynne presented the historical background to the “Maritime Inscription Photo: Michael Chester
Former National Yacht Club Commodore Ronan Beirne gave a resume of how the volunteers got involved, their training and duties until discharge in 1945 from conversations with the late Des Beirne & Harry Boyd.

Easter Monday NYC 116 Former NYC Commodore Ronan Beirne, Commander Cormac Rynne Commanding Officer of Naval H.Q. base at Halbowline and Commander of the Naval Reserve, Valerie Brouder, Pierce Purcell (son & daughter of Pierce Purcell) and Pierce Purcell junior. The late Pierce Purcell raised the tricolour on that historic occasion in 1949 and Lieutenant Commander Stephen Murphy of the Naval Service Reserve based at Cathal Brugh Barracks Rathmines  Photo: Michael Chester

Published in National YC
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You can now register for the inaugural Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm Regatta, taking place on Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th August at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire writes Gail McAllister

Around the country, women have been racing against each other for decades but this is the first time a regatta will be held at a national level. The Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm regatta is an opportunity for women to set a new goal or to simply enjoy the fun of sailing together and encourage a move from shore to boat, crew to helm or club event to regional event. Female helms currently stand out from the crowd, let’s change that and encourage women to take the helm.

All welcome
We aim to include all skill levels and interests with PY Dinghy Racing and ECHO Handicap Keelboat Racing, encourage teenage participation at a time when many young sailors are dropping out of sport, put on some non-racing options through the Cruising Association of Ireland (CAI), whilst all the while keeping a close eye on our environmental impact.

The event is open to all sailors aged 16+ and on into the 60+ ‘Silver Sailors’. But you must have a woman as helm. In order to encourage male helms to swap rolls to crew but keep existing crews together, male crew will be allowed but with all crew at least 50% female (including helm).

In addition, we have a goal of 50% female race officials and organisers. So if you’re not so sure about the competing but would like to get involved with the race officials then please get in touch to talk about training opportunities.

Among the prizes is the newly created and highly covetable Irish Sailing Perpetual Club Team Prize, the only Irish Sailing official interclub award, which is open to all members of Irish Sailing Affiliated Clubs that enter a team of three or more boats of any mix of class.

Being environmentally aware
As part of Irish Sailing’s Sustainability drive the event is registered with Sailors for the Sea Club Regattas and will follow strict eco-friendly guidelines with eco signs, no unnecessary printing, no single use plastic, easily accessible hydration and more.

We are delighted that Pathfinder, specialist change management consultants, have agreed to sponsor the regatta for three years. Pathfinder are proud to be advocates of diversity and high performing teams, and in partnering with Irish Sailing, we are helping to bring these beliefs from our work to the water.

Irish Sailing and the National Yacht Club are proud to support the Irish Federation of Sport #20x20 and Sport Ireland’s Women in Sport campaigns to increase the participation and visibility of women across all areas of sport.

Published in ISA

One of the most popular figures on the Dun Laoghaire waterfront, National Yacht Club outgoing Commodore Ronan Beirne, completes his two-year term of office this Saturday night with the traditional formal Commodore’s Dinner, which is only held when the role of Commodore is changing hands. During his time in the senior role, Commodore Beirne has become the embodiment of this notably hospitable club, overseeing the running of an impressively smooth administrative machine which deservedly became the Mitsubishi Motors “Sailing Club of the Year 2018” during his watch.

He combines an affable approach with a skilled management talent, which in turn is underpinned by a varied and active sailing career. One of those who played a key role in the establishment of the biennial Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in 2005, he was before that a noted cruising enthusiast who not only was Honorary Editor of the Irish Cruising Club Annual, but was also personally awarded trophies for round Ireland cruising and a voyage to the remote Hebridean island of St Kilda.

His involvement with popular Dun Laoghaire classes has included a period as owner of a Ruffian 23, while he was also an enthusiast for the classic John B Kearney-designed Dublin Bay Mermaids, and more recently he has been a leading figure in the very active National YC Flying Fifteen fleet. During his period as Commodore, he has given unstintingly of his time to the many and varied needs of this very special club, and Saturday night’s dinner will provide an opportunity for his fellow members to acknowledge the magnificent contribution which Ronan Beirne has made to the wellbeing of the National Yacht Club.

Published in National YC
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The National Yacht Club celebrated another year of great sailing by its members at their annual awards dinner last Saturday night in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The awards reflected a great horizon of sailing activity and administration by its members.

Commodore Ronan Beirne awarded the "Commodore's Award" to Annalise Murphy for her epic involvement on the Volvo Round the World Race on "Turn the Tide on Plastic". Annalise thanked her club by video link from her training base in Portugal and her parents Cathy McAleavey and Con Murphy accepted the award on behalf of Annalise and also gave a resume of the highs and lows experienced on that epic race. 

Download the NYC Awards booklet below. Prizegiving photos by Michael Chester

Commodore Ronan BeirneCommodore Ronan Beirne

The Boyne Regatta Cup (1870) presented to Victoria Cox and Peter Dublop at The NYC Prizegiving 2019The Boyne Regatta Cup (1870) was won by ISORA's Victoria Cox and Peter Dunlop and presented on the night by NYC archivist Frank Burgess (right) to Tadhg O'Braonsin (left) and Anthony Doyle 

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Mark Compton accepts the "O'Leary Cup" on behalf of the "Prospect" crew from Frank Burgess club curator

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Flying Fifteen Champions Dave Gorman and Chris Doorly. David and Chris have been awarded the Edward Yacht Club Trophy for their extraordinary consistent performance in winning 33-boat Flying Fifteen championships of Ireland and finishing 4th at the 50-boat UK national championships

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Sarah Gorman (centre) has been awarded the John Byrne Memorial Trophy for almost single handily organising and running the Junior Friday night and September series for the past five years providing safe, fun racing for hundreds of Juniors in our club and across the waterfront.

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Clare Gorman (left) pictured with Carmel Winkelmann. Clare has been awarded the Winkelmann Trophy for a successful first year on the Irish Sailing academy and achieving multiple top three race results in overseas regattas including the under 18 Radial worlds and winning first girl overall under 19 at the Warnermunde Europa cup in Germany

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Ian Meldon with the "Greystones Regatta Cup" on behalf of club volunteers. L to R: Martin McCarthy Vice Commodore. Frank Burgess Club Curator, Colm Murray, Catherine Byrne, Sandra Moore and Alan Balfe

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Donal O'Sullivan (centre) has been awarded the Paul Murphy Cup for his 27 years service to the administration and regatta management in Dublin Bay racing and coordinating events with the waterfront clubs. Never allowing the administration impact on his own racing as a regular competitor in the Enterprise, Fireball, Ruffian, Wag & Shipman classes ensured he was in touch with the requirements of the competitors

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028The Township Cup is awarded to the member who achieves the best Cruise of the year. Liam Shanahan (right) has been awarded the Township Cup for his cruise bringing his new boat Ruth ll from London - Dublin - Cork - Spain - Portugal - Mallorca - the Canaries and finishing with the ARC race in November 2018.

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028The Muglins Cup is awarded for the most interesting family cruise of the year. The Madigans, Halls, Floods and Dalys have been awarded the Muglins Cup. As a group of Junior Section parents, they chartered a fleet of yachts for a summer cruise in company in Greece. This innovative flotilla was much enjoyed by all!

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Patrick Hassett (right) has been awarded the Martin Crotty Cup for his commitment and enthusiasm in sailing the International 2.4m in the Access Sailing programmes this summer and competing in the DMYC Frostbite seriesNYC Prizgiving 2019 028Laser Grand Masters World Champion Mark Lyttle (left) with Carmel Winkelmann and Ronan Beirne. Mark has been awarded the Wild Geese Trophy for winning the Laser Master Worlds Championships 2018

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Claudine Murphy (left) is commended for finishing second overall in The Water Wags DBSC series and being the best of the NYC Water Wags

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Nell Staunton was commended for finishing 8th at the ISAF Youth Worlds

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Chris Moore, outgoing Commodore and now Hon Sec of DBSC is commended for his sterling work over a decade in DBSC

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Clodagh O'Connor accepts a commendation award on behalf of her son Hugh

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Marcus Higgins is commended for his amazing cruise around the Med on board his 27ft boat ‘Phta’

NYC Prizgiving 2019 028Commodore Ronan Beirne with Annalise Murphy's parents Con Murphy and Cathy MacAleavey

Published in National YC
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The Flying Fifteen class Mitsubishi Frostbite series continued over the weekend after a break for the bank holiday weekend at the National Yacht Club. With nineteen boats entered and with PRO Ian Mathews running the show this event never fails to deliver. Despite the stormy weather on Saturday ten boats braved the elements to have three challenging and exciting races inside the harbour.

Overall the series is warming up nicely and with two weekends left a number of boats are still in contention for overall honours. The series is currently lead by Stuart Harrison and Tim Sheard from Lough Neagh followed by Alan Dooley & Joe Hickey in second and Ken Dumpleton & John McAree in third place. Others are lurking in the wings waiting for the next discard to kick in and hopefully move up.

The nature of short races in the harbour with gusts and shifts meant that positions changed frequently. On the first beat, in particular, the ability to tack off was paramount and impossible for 9 out of the 10 boats and just when you thought you were in a good position the wind gods decided otherwise- frustrating but challenging! Race 1 Green was first to the weather mark but momentarily forgot about the wing mark, downwind the Meaghers and Green gybed to the left but Alan Dooley on the right came from behind on the run to establish a lead he kept, Dumpleton was second with Green & Doorly third. Race 2 was up and down but Harrison got ahead and stayed there for a comfortable win, Green did a Lazarus job in the shifts to get second with Dooley third. The race officer threw in a third race, Green managed to get the lead at the weather mark, not only did he keep it but extended it well. Colman & Quinn were second with Peter Murphy third.

It was a busy day on the committee boat and the RIBs with the quick turnaround so special thanks to Ian and his crew who worked hard to make it a great days sailing for the competitors.

Published in Flying Fifteen
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37 yachts or various classes and types assembled at the start last night for the National Yacht Club members “End of Summer Race”.

The fleet was allocated to four starts – from Moths to Cruiser Zero from the bandstand under race officer Larry Power ably assisted by Sandra and Chris Moore, Ian Meldon, Olivier Prouveur and fresh from the SB20 European Championships, Justin Burke.

A good NW of c18-20 knots had the fleet reaching out the harbour in the direction of Harbour Mark followed by different courses for the four fleets taking them around the bay and back into the finish at the bandstand.

Neil O’Toole took the Moth prize. The Flying Fifteen fleet was won by David Mulvin in 3612.

Levante won the 31.7’s. Anne Kirwan and crew on Bandit was the Ruffian winner. Jalapeno the J109 class winner, Helen Cooney in the club’s 1720 was helm for the “Women on Water” crew.

Tsunami won the Cruiser Zero prize and Dave Morley the multihull winner in his Hobie Cat. Cruiser III winner was Sean Doyle in Huggy Bear and Jimini Cricket the Cruiser IV with Alison Blake.

Members enjoyed a full house sailing supper with prize giving and a lively evening was enjoyed by all and a collection for the RNLI raised over €600.

Thanks to our prize sponsors: Solas Marine, Viking Marine, CH Marine, PinBax and for Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company for facilities extended.

Published in National YC
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The National Yacht Club Women on the Water team continues to grow in numbers with up to 30 female sailors now sailing weekly at the Dun Laoghaire harbour–based club. 

This enthusiastic group entered two 1720 Sportsboats in last weekend's club regatta last weekend with an all ladies crew. It was a glorious day of sunshine with two windward/leeward races providing lots of challenging sailing.

The NYC awarded a Women's Boat prize (below) in recognition of the many new and returning ladies to sailing in the club. This was jointly won by one of our 1720s helmed by Fiona Staunton and an SB20 sailed by Sarah Byrne from Greystones.

NYC Women sailing

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A sea breeze on Dublin Bay for the Davy Group–sponsored National Yacht Club Regatta produced the goods for the estimated 160–boat fleet for the Club of the Year's Summer highlight at Dun Laoghaire on Saturday.

Read our NYC Regatta preview here. Download results below.

Andrew Algeo's J109 Juggerknot from the Royal Irish Yacht Club continues its unbeaten run Class One IRC this season taking the class win with a one and a two in the two race series. Second in the 18–boat class was Colin Byrne's Xp33 Bon Exemple. A third RIYC boat was in third place, Ronan Harris's J109 Jigamaree. 

Platinum blonde Paul Egan 3320(Above and below) Paul Egan's Platinum Blonde prepares to drop the spinnaker on the Beneteau First 35 in the run into Seapoint Buoy Photo:

Class one yachts Seapoint buoy 3369

Something Else John Hall 3302The National Yacht Club's J109 Something Else co-skippered by father and son team John and Brian Hall Photo:

Rockabill VI NYC 3274Paul O'Higgins's Rockabill VI competing in Cruisers Zero Photo:

Class Two IRC was an all Howth Yacht Club affair with tricked up Half–Tonners taking first, second and third. Dave Cullen's Checkmate XV, the overall winner of June's Wave Regatta at Howth, was to the fore again beating Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII. Mike and Ritchie Evan's The Big Picture was third.

In Class Three, IRC Brendan Foley's Impala Running Wild of the Royal St. George Yacht Club was the winner from Ken Lawless's RIYC Quarter Tonner, Cartoon. Third place went to Peter Richardson's Dubious.

Running wild Impala 3141In Class Three, IRC Brendan Foley's Impala Running Wild was the winner from Ken Lawless's Quarter Tonner Cartoon below Photo:

Quarter tonner Cartoon 3126

Nationsl Yacht club regatta 3148Peter Richardson's Dubious from the Royal St. George YC was third in Cruisers Three IRC Photo:

In the one design divisions, the regatta incorporated the 23–boat UK and Irish Sigma 33 National Championships racing on a separate race course under international Race Officer, David Lovegrove. Read our separate report here on how Scottish visitors dominated at the Royal St. Geroge event.

Howth 17 NYCVisiting historic Howth 17s gathered at the NYC pontoon on their annual trip across Dublin Bay Photo: Facebook

As the SB20s prepare for their national championships this weekend at the same club and on the same race track, it was Jerry Dowling's RIYC–based Bad Kilcullen that showed regatta–winning form to win from club mate Ger Dempsey's Third was the NYC's  Black skippered by James Gorman.

Flying Fifteen David Gorman Chris Doorly 3534Former Flying Fifteen champions David Gorman and Chris Doorly Photo:

A 15-boat Flying Fifteen class was won by the club's own pairing of David Gorman and Chris Doorly (above) who won from Ian Matthews and Keith Poole. Third was Niall Coleman and Susan Halpenny in Flyer. 

Flying Fifteen Ian Matthews Keith Poole 3639NYC Flying Fifteen pairing Ian Matthews and Keith Poole Photo:

Flying Fiteen Niall coleman 3769Niall Coleman and Susan Halpenny were third in the Flying Fifteens Photo:

John Chambers Waszp 3402John Chambers was the four–boat Waszp division winner Photo:

Waszp 3507

In the regatta's Laser division, Ronan Wallace beat Darach Dineen, in the first of the new Laser League initiative for Bay sailors. Ross O'Leary was third in the five–boat fleet.

Laser Clare Gorman 3696Clare Gorman won of the host the five boat Laser Radial division Photo:

Laser NYC regatta 3420Ronan Wallace (above) was the Laser class winner from Darach Dineen below Photo:

Laser NYC 3469

IDRA 14 125 3433IDRA 14 125 (Ascoop & Hennig) were second overall in the eight boat PY fleet Photo:

Download full results below. 

Next up on Dublin Bay is the Royal Irish Yacht Club regatta on Saturday where the Dun Laoghaire club will attempt a remarkable double act

Published in National YC
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The Annual Regatta of any yacht or sailing club is the ultimate expression of the club’s identity. The ideal is a very special mixture of the best of sailing sport afloat followed by hospitality and conviviality ashore, with it all done in a style in which the members can take pride. Whatever its duration (for an Irish regatta can be anything from a day to a week), this is a matter of the club going public, putting on its best face to the world in general, and to other clubs in particular. W M Nixon reflects on the current state of our regattas.

Today, it’s the biennial stand-alone Regatta of the Davy Group sponsored National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Were this an odd-numbered year, we’d be shaping up for the four day Dun Laoghaire Regatta, into which all club regattas are subsumed. Yet even in that massive sailfest, each of the waterfront clubs still manages to maintain its own identity and social programme within the overall format.

So inevitably those who are gearing up for today’s events on Dublin Bay and the subsequent parties in the National (there’s the Regatta Reception itself - strawberries and cream, music and merriment - followed after a civilised interval by the Regatta Dinner) will fondly recall the equivalent day last year during the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta 2017.

peggy bawn myfanwy2The 19th Century lives again in the “Classics Compound” off the National YC in 2017. On the left is Hal Sisk’s G L Watson-designed Peggy Bawn of 1894 vintage, on the right is Rob Mason’s Alexander Richardson-designed Myfanwy of 1897. Photo: W M Nixon
For the National, that would have been the Friday, when the magic summer mood reached its most benevolent height. The races had finished in-harbour within close sight of the clubhouse, and as the classics and traditional craft had their specially allocated berths right off the club, the 19th century was re-born in appearances.

But the actual pace was purest 21st Century hyper-hectic, with Commodore Ronan Beirne somehow manifesting his friendly presence in at least five different major functions under way at one and the same time in or around the well-utilised clubhouse in the sweetest of velvet nights. After a fine day’s sailing, it was a masterpiece of the club spirit which firmly placed the National YC in the frame to become Mitsubishi Motors Sailing Club of the Year 2018.

national yacht club3On a good summer’s evening, it’s amazing how much social activity can be successfully packed into the National Yacht Club’s shoreside space. Photo courtesy Beau Outteridge
Of course, to a large extent, the success of that memorable day and night was largely dependent on the great unmentionable – the weather. The big event of 2017 saw ideal circumstances – enough breeze for good racing, yet shirt-sleeve conditions within the harbour. The way we plan regattas, you’d think such a combination could be almost guaranteed. But it has to be said that when they do occur, we make the most of it.

periwinkle myfanwy4An enduring image. For sure we’ve used this photo before, of the restored Dublin Bay 24 Periwinkle (Chris Craig & David Espey) and the 1897 cutter Myfanwy (Rob Mason) racing for the entrance to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. But it perfectly captures the mood of idyllic regatta sailing in a classic setting. Photo:

Yet always the powers-that-be are on the lookout for ways to make their annual regatta – whatever its form – even more successful in the following year. As the old saying would have it, things have to change all the time if they’re going to stay the same. Nevertheless, once a successful format has been established, it’s a matter of making small tweaks rather than major changes, and the underlying policy still has to be devoted to making people very well aware that the regatta is taking place, and that its success depends every bit as much on enthusiastic participants as it does on a significant number of volunteers at every level doing their bit to make sure everything runs smoothly.

The most visible side of this is the running of the club’s hospitality machine ashore. But don’t for one nano-second underestimate the importance of the Race Committee getting it right afloat, with efficiently run racing being largely completed around 4 o’clock in the afternoon being the ideal target.

There are endless historical precedents for the importance of competitive sport in the regatta format. Genteel if highly-structured sailing in company in the original style of the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork way back in the 1720s was soon no longer enough, and even the Water Club itself was actively promoting racing events at least by 1765, and probably earlier.

gondola racing venice5Modern racing gondolas in Venice, with fully-crewed boats. The word “regatta” is thought to be of Venetian origin, used since the 1650s for gondola contests

But way beyond that, the very word “Regatta” implied competition. It first emerged in the 1650s in Venice as the name for a race among the gondoliers on the Grand Canal. In the still very-active Venetian dialect (I once raced offshore with a speaker of it, and even for my cloth ears, it was unmistakable), “regatta” boiled down to translating as “contention for mastery” – the competitive element was paramount.

Thus although we know there was sailing in and around Dublin Bay from the 1600s onwards, it wasn’t until 1828, when the first regatta was staged in the then-new Kingstown Harbour, that we get any matter-of-fact reference to it. The reporting of sporting events afloat and ashore generated newsprint much more readily than the vague activity of sailing for relaxation, and it provided an image which still talks to us down the years.

kingstown 1828 regatta6The daddy of them all. This basic but informative picture from 1828 is the clearest record of the first Kingstown regatta. Lord Erroll’s 42-ton cutter Liberty (right) is winning from Colonel Madden’s 69-ton cutter Ganymede which is narrowly ahead of the Rev D. George’s 37-ton cutter Thetis. 190 years later, regattas at this historic venue continue to reinvent themselves while somehow managing to seem the same in order to continue a remarkable tradition.

These days, the developing theme seems to be a neat over-lapping of championships, or the inclusion of established events in a style reminiscent of expanding Christianity taking over ancient Pagan festivals such as Easter, and giving them a new meaning

Only three weeks ago, we were looking at the success of the new Wave Regatta at Howth, which successfully included the time-honoured Lambay Race. Today, the National YC Regatta includes a guaranteed increase in boat numbers, thanks to being the first race of the new Laser Regatta Series.

In our era of limited time for people with a variety of leisure interests, this simple idea is a stroke of genius. The Dublin Bay Laser fleet, captained by Ross O’Leary, have just announced a handy new series based on Laser racing in the National YC regatta today and the Royal Irish YC  regatta on June 30th, with the three-part series concluded and the prizes distributed at the Royal St George YC Regatta on July 7th.

Laser Start dublin Bay 2194Perfect sailing conditions for Lasers in Dublin Bay. The simple but imaginative concept of a three regatta series for the class, starting today and concluding with the Royal St George YC Regatta on July 7th, is meeting with wide approval. Photo:

Meanwhile, from across Dublin Bay, there has been a similar leap of the imagination by the Howth Seventeen class. When you’ve been in existence for 120 years, significant anniversaries come with increasing frequency, and some bright spark has noticed that 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the resumption of new building in the class. It was in 1988 – something like 74 years since a Seventeen had last been newly built – that the two new Howth Seventeens were built in a shed at Howth Castle.

We still think of those two boats Erica and Isobel as new, even though others have appeared more recently. Be that as it may, today the two-day celebration of their 30th Anniversary is going to get under way with the class racing from Howth to Dun Laoghaire and the National Yacht Club regatta, while back in Howth tomorrow they’ll cram in the Single-Handed race, the Crews’ race and the Ladies’ race rounded out by a barbecue.

howth 17 three generations8When a class is 120 years old, there’ll always be some date worthy of celebration coming along. This Howth Seventeen trio includes (left to right) Oonagh built 1909, Isobel 1988, and Orla 2017. Photo Neil Murphy

The NYC hospitality machine will be able to accommodate them on Day One with style as their 2018 regatta moves the Club towards the big one, its own 150th Anniversary in 2020. As a tester along the way, they host the Flying Fifteen World Championship next year, 2019. And who knows what other special attractions will come up to be staged with the smooth and unfussed style of this friendly club.

But before the conviviality takes over later this afternoon, there’s serious racing business to be done, and all eyes will inevitably be on the hottest class in the bay, the J/109s. In Irish waters at least, the Andrew Algeo-helmed Juggerknot is currently on a hugely successful roll, even if the Kelly family’s Storm did great things in Scotland last month, while the Shanahans in Ruth lodged an ISORA win. Either way, quarter will neither be given nor expected, while a major club’s annual regatta provides the ideal setting for such a battle royal, with jousting afloat while the flags flutter ashore.

tir na nog9Just the job for a spot of nautical jousting……the very full length bowsprit on Sean Walsh’s Heard 28 Tir na nOg, berthed off the National Yacht Club on Regatta Day. Photo: W M Nixon

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