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Dun Laoghaire's Royal St. George Yacht Club has announced that its inaugural Junior Spring Open, sponsored by Craftinsure, will be held on the 19th & 20th of March 2011. This event promises to be a great kick start to the Junior Sailing Season for the Optimist, 420, Feva and Laser Classes.

There will be both Regatta and Main Fleets, Regatta Coaches on the courses and the event will count as an Optimist Pre-Trials and Pre-Regional event. With the ISA Mitsubishi Youth National Championship being held in the same sailing area at the end of April, this event is a great opportunity for sailors from all around the country to get some practise in the local waters.

There will be entertainment for sailors and parents on both evenings, evening dinners and, of course, full Six Nations Rugby coverage on the Saturday throughout the Club. There will also be live-tweeting from the water throughout the event - follow this live action unfold at www.twitter.com/rsgyc.

For further information and to enter online please visit www.rsgyc.ie. The Entrance Fee is €85 for Fevas & 420s and €55 for Oppies & Lasers.

Published in RStGYC

In one of her last official functions as Minister for Sport, outgoing local TD Mary Hanafin attended the Irish Sailing Association's annual Ball last Saturday in the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire.

Attended by 315 people the black tie ball featured an awards ceremony that has been hailed  'a great success' by the association.

On Saturday afternoon the association elected a new President, Niamh McCutcheon, the first female ISA President since the organisation was founded in 1945.

A collection in aid of the RNLI raised over €2,250.

Award details below:

ISA Sailing Achievement of the Year
This award is presented by the ISA to recognise the outstanding achievement in a sailing craft by an Irish person or in Ireland during 2010.
Winner: Nicholas 'Nin' O'Leary, Royal Cork Yacht Club
Nicholas' achievements included narrowly beating his father Anthony at the ISA All Ireland Championships in 2010 by just a single point after a nail-biting finale in difficult conditions off Kinsale in November. The win made it three-in-a-row for this remarkable young 24 year old sailor - the only person to achieve this in the 64 years of the event's history.

ISA Volunteer of the Year
This award is given to a member of an ISA affiliated club or class who has made a significant voluntary contribution to their sport during 2010.
Winner: Brian Craig, Royal St. George Yacht Club.
Brian has been nominated by the Royal St. George Yacht Club for the vital role he has played in developing sailing in Ireland and specifically Dun Laoghaire over the past 40 years. His most recent success was winning the bid for Dun Laoghaire to host the 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds.

ISA Youth Sailor of the Year
This award is presented by the ISA to recognise the outstanding achievement by a sailor competing in ISA Performance Pathway boats during 2010.
Winner: Finn Lynch, Blessington Sailing Club
Placing 2nd overall at the Topper World Championships in 2010 left the Carlow sailor in good stead for a Youth Sailor nomination. A determined sailor and strong character, it's clear that with these strengths Finn has the potential to go far in our sport.

ISA Instructor of the Year
This award recognises the role instructors have in providing access to our sports. The final 5 have been nominated by their students with the ultimate winner selected by an ISA judging panel.
Winner: Aine Carroll, Rush Sailing Club
Aine has been an ISA instructor for the last 11 years, instructing both adult and junior sailors in Rush Sailing Club. A keen Mermaid sailor, her love of sailing, her enthusiasm for the sport and willingness to give her time to her sailors have been infectious and remarkable. Apparently the kids at the club think she is a 'legend' and 'cool'!

ISA Training Centre of the Year
The face of ISA water sports to thousands of participants. The best in 2010 as nominated by their students.
Winner: University of Limerick Activity Centre
Situated on the sheltered shores of Lough Derg, University of Limerick Activity Centre has been in operation for over a decade. ULAC provides a varied programme of adventure activities to the general public. The University of Limerick Activity Centre runs ISA courses in sailing dinghies, windsurfers, powerboat as well as emergency care training courses.

Published in ISA

Over 120 marine trade and leisure companies from Ireland and Wales are coming together in Dun Laoghaire this week to examine ways to combat the current economic downturn on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Speakers at the conference at the Royal Marine Hotel are drawn from Industry representative organisations, tourism bodies, marine leisure companies, business development specialists, economists and irish-sea.org will provide insights and share knowledge on how to survive the downturn and emerge leaner and stronger when the recovery arrives.

The conference will also provide an industry wide networking opportunity for companies from Ireland and Wales to share experiences and develop business links across the Irish Sea.

Irish-sea.org is an Ireland/Wales Interreg IVA Programme to develop the Irish Sea into a marine leisure centre of excellence.

The programme provides help and support to the sector on both sides of the Irish Sea through marketing, business and vocational training and assisting in the acquisition of research data.

Published in Marine Federation

On loan from the Oracle America's Cup Team, Northern Ireland ace navigator Ian Moore is the navigator on board the Carbon built 80-footer Aegir for this week's RORC race in the Caribbbean.

Antigua Yacht Club is buzzing with excitement, with two days to go to the start of the 600-mile race around the central Caribbean. Yacht crews are busy at work making final preparations for the Royal Ocean Racing Club's (RORC) Caribbean 600. Falmouth Harbour is an impressive sight with the RORC fleet safely moored up next to the yacht club.

RORC Yacht of the Year ready for battle

Piet Vroon's Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens - the RORC 2010 Yacht of the Year - arrived just before dusk on Friday. The delivery crew, all six of whom will also be racing, endured a 1,000 mile beat to Antigua from Jamaica: "This will be our fourth and final event in the Caribbean." Explained Piet Vroon. "This is the first time that I have done this race and it is the main reason that we came to the Caribbean. All of my crew said that this is a race that they want to do and I am very much looking forward to it."

Tonnerre is one of three boats that competed in the Pineapple Cup, the opening rubber of the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series. George David's Rambler 100, Richard Oland's Vela Veloce and Hugo Steinback's Dubois 90, Genuine Risk also competed in the Pineapple Cup which Genuine Risk won on corrected time. Vela Veloce is a Southern Wind 52, which cleaned up in Key West race week in January.

Entries from Australia and 14 other nations

Yachts representing 15 Nations have come to Antigua to compete in the 600-mile spectacular, but none have come as far as Chris Bull's Cookson 50, Jazz. The canting-keel flyer arrived in Antigua on Friday, having made an epic journey bycontainer ship and sail from Australia, after a fantastic performance in the Rolex Sydney Hobart.

"It's been hard work getting the boat here from Australia, but we have done it, which just goes to show it is possible." Commented Boat Captain, Anthony Haines. Jazz's journey started on January 8th from Sydney, Australia to Savannah, Georgia. After which the delivery crew sailed 1400 miles to get Jazz to Antigua on time.

"Ever since the RORC conceived the idea of this race I have wanted to do it," said Chris Bull on he dock in Antigua. "I am also keen to do the Transatlantic Race and try and win the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series which I think is an excellent initiative which the RORC are involved with."

Rock Stars and Corinthian Sailors Rub Shoulders

From Lithuania, the Volvo 60, Ambersail debuts in the Caribbean and counts veteran round the world sailor Magnus Olsen in their crew. Ambersail is well travelled, having competed in last year's Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race and the Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Ondeck's Farr 65, Spirit of Minerva counts British solo-sailor Hannah White amongst the crew: "Effectively there are 10 legs and well over 600 miles of racing in fantastic trade wind conditions which I am sure will be a strong test for navigators and crews in equal measure." Commented Hannah.

Class 40 World Champions on the line

Six Class 40s are expected, possibly more. Tony Lawson's Concise and Gonzalo Botin are past and current Class 40, world champions. Tony Lawson, owner of Concise expects a close duel with Tales: "There is no doubt that the Spanish team will be fast and possibly more suited to lighter conditions, but I am confident that the team on Concise will be fully focused and they are in control of a quick, well prepared boat."

Power and Elegance Combine

RORC Commodore, Andrew McIrvine has chartered the elegant and powerful 154 ft schooner, Windrose of Amsterdam. The crew has taken the magnificent yacht through its paces, spending two days practicing manoeuvres: "It is a very different kind of sailing to my First 40." Commented Andrew McIrvine. "The sheer size of the sails and equipment make for extremely physical work and manoeuvres are far more complex. Communication from front to back is only possible by hand signals. We had some good pressure during our practice session, which confirmed that Windrose is a powerful yacht, literally built for Caribbean sailing."

Navigator's make their Predictions

Brian Benjamin's Carbon Ocean 82, Aegir has been out testing sails and the crew, visiting the top part of the race course all night Friday. Night sailing makes up close to half the time during the race. Boat captain Shreda Duke confirmed that the exercise was very successful in bedding in the crew to their proposed watch-system. Aegir's navigator for the race is Ian Moore on loan from the Oracle America's Cup Team. Moore concurs with Hugh Agnew, ICAP Leopard's navigator, the prediction of stable trade wind sailing but added: "The first key area of the race may well come as night falls. Aegir should be approaching Nevis at dusk and the first really tricky part of the course. The islands of Nevis and St Kitts are high, which will throw out quite a wind shadow through this area; there will be a lot of gear changes in between the lulls and puffs of acceleration. The big decision from a navigator's point of view will be how far off the leeward side of these islands to go."

In Falmouth Harbour, the air temperature is a balmy 27º C and a fair breeze is flowing in from the northeast, meaning that the trade winds are functioning, but it's an ever-changing picture. Read John Burnie's expert summary on the RORC Caribbean 600 web site: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/

100 footers Go Head to Head

ICAP Leopard set the monohull course record in 2009, completing the course in 44 hr 5 min 14 sec and Mike Slade's team believe that they could beat the record, although they may not be the first home. George David's stunning Maxi, Rambler 100 is dockside in Falmouth and are favourites to take line honours. George David has secured the assistance of Ken Read to the afterguard and some of Ken's Puma Volvo Ocean Race crew. It is the first time that these two 100 foot canting keel maxi's have raced each other with ICAP Leopard having taken an interesting strategy and dropped their rating considerably, in a bid to gain handicap honours.

Local Knowledge from Caribbean Entries

Local interest comes from Bernie Evan-Wong who is competing in the race for the third time in his Mumm 36, High Tension. From Guadeloupe there is a Class 40, Territoires Attitudes, skippered by David Ducosson.

34 boats are expected on the start line on February 21st February. The RORC Caribbean 600 web site contains regular updates on the race, blogs from the boats and the progress of the boats, which have trackers, can be followed via the website: http://caribbean600.rorc.org/

Published in RORC

London is expected to provide a great SuperYacht venue for the Olympics and the hope is that some of the massive visitors may in turn continue cruising in Ireland according to www.YachtsLondon.com who are providing services to help yachts arrange to visit in 2012.

There are only a handful of capital cities that can accommodate SuperYachts in their hearts and London is one of these with its iconic river views of Tower Bridge, Greenwich, the O2 Dome and the Canary Wharf financial district.

A legacy of London's place at the centre of world trade in the past are its remaining docks which will provide high quality stern-to mooring for 50-100 large yachts as demand warrants. Canary Wharf will be the centre of this with added space in the Royal Docks next to City Airport. Yachts up to 200m LOA and 30m beam can be accommodated.

Hugh Agnew, one of the principals of YachtsLondon said that "many parties will be involved including dock owners, landowners, pier operators, PLA, MCA, security and suppliers. We can help with all of these, but the key at the moment is early decisions so that sufficient dock space is put in place for 2012."

As well as the Olympic Games there are many other events in the UK in 2012 including Superyacht Cup, J Class regattas, Westward Cup so if there was ever a year to plan to make UK the destination then 2012 will be it with the possibility to link to cruising in Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavia.

Published in Olympics 2012

There will be no match racing on the south coast this year following a rejig of the fixtures calendar.

After two years of expansion for match racing in terms of events the theme for 2011 is consolidation.

Changes to the ISA SailFleet schedule for the boats mean that we have had to go through a rejigging of the match racing calendar.

The major impact is that Royal Cork YC are to take the boats latter than originally hoped meaning that they will be unable to host a leg of the Tour.

With Kinsale not taking part in the SailFleet scheme this year that means no match racing on the south coast for the first time in a couple of years.

With no tie up with the Dun Laoghaire Festival of Cultures available this year a date of July 23rd and 24th has been settled on for the Ireland vs The World International.

The highlight of last year this event will once again pit Irelands 6 best match racers against 6 teams from the rest of the world. Once again National and Tour champion John Sheehy will captain the Irish team.

The Leinster Match Racing Open, to be hosted by the Royal Irish Yacht Club, has been moved to July 16th and 17th to allow it to act as qualification for the Irish team for the following weekend and to give Laura Dillion and the Gladiators (Sam Hunt, Paddy Blackley, Peter Bayly, Richard Murphy) competitive practice immediately before heading over to Poland to represent the country at the ISAF Nations Cup.

Howth Yacht Club's, Dublin Match Racing Open stays with a date of September 3rd and 4th before we head for Lough Derg and the Womens (October 15th and 16th) and Open National Championships (November 5th And 6th).

All of the above means that here will be no Munster Match Racing Open this year and work continues to find a host for the IUSA Student Match Racing Nationals with Galway a potential for early April. There has been considerable work on the cost of entry for events over the winter and the majority of events will have a basic entry of €330 this year. All events will be run at ISAF grade 3.

Revised calendar

July 16-17th – Leinster Match Racing Open, Royal Irish Yacht Club
July 23-24th – Ireland vs The World International, Royal St George Yacht Club
September 3rd and 4th – Dublin Match Racing Open, Howth Yacht Club
October 15th and 16th - Womens Match Racing Championships, Lough Derg Yacht Club
November 5th and 6th – National Match Racing Championships, Lough Derg Yacht Club

Published in Match Racing
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