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With its focus on quality over quantity, next week's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has grown over 12 years into one of Ireland’s premiere sporting events, let alone sailing – and is now competing with the best in Europe.
If you want a snapshot of the sport of sailing in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in 2017, where would you go? Dun Laoghaire is the answer.
The pages of this year's 2017 Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta programme detail over 450 boats in 35 classes, and in so doing they provide the most accurate picture of the Irish Sea sailing scene.
Over four days in July, 300 volunteers will stage 290 races for a mix of cruiser–racers, one-design keelboats and dinghies, plus a unique classics division, all wrapped up in one Irish Sea sail-fest – with Dun Laoghaire as its centre.
In assembling such an armada, Dun Laoghaire Regatta (VDLR) has become, at its seventh staging, not only the country’s biggest sailing event — with over 2,500 sailors competing — but also one of Ireland’s largest participant sporting happenings.
But what’s even more satisfying for the Dun Laoghaire organisers is that nearly half the entries are visiting boats – an indication of the future international prospects of the regatta.
It’s a big achievement for the capital’s waters, given so many other regattas are struggling for numbers.
Focus on quality
‘Never mind the quality, feel the width’ has been a criticism of modern-day regattas where organisers mistakenly focus on being the biggest in an effort to be the best.
And at a time when regatta fleets have collapsed, there is some irony in the fact that Dun Laoghaire,
The Commodore of the Royal Dee Yacht Club, Alastair Soane, has announced that “Jack Ryan Whiskey” is to sponsor the Royal Dee Yacht Club Irish Sea Offshore Championship that starts with the “Lyver Race” from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire this Friday, 30th June 2017 with two J109s vying for the ISORA series lead.
Heading into the Lyver Race, the seventh race in the ISORA series, “Mojito” is leading the series ahead of “Jedi” by approximately 50 points. While these two boats appear to be well ahead of the remainder of the fleet, the high scoring system, when taken with discards and race weightings, can make dramatic changes to the positions. The Lyver Race carries a weighting of 1.3, the highest weighting of any race in the series and therefore will have a significant effect on the scoring.
Nine of the twelve leading boats will be taking part in the Lyver race. However, many of them will be heading south later in the season to take part in the Fastnet Race and will not be competing in the later races. All is left to fight for and things will be a lot clearer on Saturday evening.
The ISORA Championship consist of the cumulative results from five offshore and coastal races, the Lyver Race and the four coastal races in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta. As there are no discards, the championship is open to all boats taking part in these races.
Prize giving will take place after each race for all class winners in both IRC and ECHO and Overall prizes will take place at the VDLR Main prize giving in the RStGYC.
Jack Ryan Whiskey, the family-owned independent finisher and bottler of premium Single Malt Irish Whiskey, won a Gold medal for their 12 Year Old, and
The 275-mile Volvo Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race overall win was still open to challenge until the leader on the water, Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI, had cleared the Fastnet Rock. However, with every mile sailed thereafter, it looked increasingly likely that Rockabill was on track to win every title for which she was eligible. Only a total catastrophic failure of boat or equipment was going to prevent it. But there was no failure of any kind. The JPK 10.80 comes at a significant price premium because this is a clearly defined concept which just doesn’t do boat or equipment failures. W M Nixon tries to pin down why the Dingle win seemed so special.
Success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan. As Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI has increasingly found her form in Irish sailing since arriving new from the builders just over a year ago, there’s no lack of people ready to tell you how and why they counselled him to go for an expensive new JPK 10.80, rather than a reasonably-priced second-hand J/109 like so many others.
But as one of Dublin’s leading barristers, Paul O’Higgins is his own man, quiet in demeanor yet thinking on his feet at the speed of lightning, while effortlessly storing any new information in a well-furnished brain. His approach to sourcing a new boat as the 2014 season drew to a close was forensic in its analysis, and the way he picked on a JPK 10.80 before they’d hit the headlines of major success is illustrative of how he functions.
Not being a cradle sailor, he can look at boats in a coldly dispassionate way. He hadn’t sailed at all until he met his future
#HYC - With all the recent offshore success for Howth Yacht Club sailors — not least Conor Fogerty in the OSTAR — you’d be forgiven for missing out on the impressive performance by Darren Wright, Kieran Jameson and company at the Giraglia Rolex Cup 2017, the Mediterranean's oldest offshore sailing event last week.
The HYC crew sailing on Hydra, a chartered DK46 designed by Wicklow-based Mark Mills, placed third overall in class ORC A in the inshore races at St Tropez — including a win in the third and final race from a tightly packed 80-boat start line last Tuesday 13 June.
Hydra was just out of the top third of finishers in the main offshore sprint to Genoa from Wednesday 14 to Saturday 17 June, placing 41st among the combined ORC A and B classes.
#OSTAR - Ireland’s Conor Fogerty of Howth Yacht Club has burned off the last 40 miles of the OSTAR in blazing style, zooming in to Newport, Rhode Island to cross the finish line at 1545 hrs Irish time this afternoon (Monday 19 June) in his Jeanneau 3600 BAM!, writes W M Nixon.
It’s going to be some day of celebration for the determined lone skipper newly arrived in America. At the finish, 21 days 2 hours and 45 minutes after leaving Plymouth, he was just four hours behind the two-handed Open 40 Rote 66 (Uwe Rottgering & Asia Pajkowska). The only other boat ahead was the Italian Open 60 Venti di Sardegna, which finished four days ago.
As for any remotely comparable competition, we’re talking in terms of similarly sized boats – including a BAM! sister-ship – being hundreds of miles astern. The spread of the storm-depleted fleet has been remarkable.
But even more remarkable was the way that Fogerty in his much smaller racer was in there slugging it out boat-for-boat with significantly larger competitors. It has been a superhuman performance, and clearly wins Conor Fogerty the coveted Gipsy Moth Trophy.