Nick Dwyer keen to resume world trip after dramatic rescue

ICRA Boat of the Year ‘Joker II’ to seek first hat-trick of class one titles at Royal Cork

Former Royal St George Yacht Club sailor Nick Dwyer from Dún Laoghaire recalled his "moment of terror" during a capsize off Sydney, Australia on Wednesday.

The Irish long distance voyager and his round-the-world cruise companion Barbara Heftman were rescued unharmed off the coast of New South Wales after their ketch became disabled in heavy weather.

The couple’s four-day ordeal aboard their 12-metre Val, escalated from a broken rudder to capsize in waves the “size of buildings”.

The pair said New South Wales marine police were “absolute heroes” after their dramatic rescue on Wednesday, some 210 nautical miles (390km) off the Sydney coastline.


Dwyer (55), who learned to sail in Dún Laoghaire and emigrated from Ireland to the UK in the 1980s, aims to find the abandoned yacht that doubles as his home when storms abate. The intention is to carry out repairs and recommence the 10-year cruise that ended so abruptly on passage from New Zealand this week.

Dwyer's sister Sarah Byrne, a director of the Irish Sailing Association, told The Irish Times that "the pair are both seasoned sailors and the experience is unlikely to put them off returning to the sea".

Crosshaven battle

Dublin yacht Joker II was named Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA) Boat of the Year at last weekend's ICRA Conference in Limerick. The eight-man J109 crew, skippered by John Maybury, have declared their intention to seek a first ever hat-trick of class one titles at this year's ICRA National Championships at Royal Cork in June.

Trial horses on home waters will not be in short supply in the run-up to the Crosshaven battle because Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) is about to unveil one of its most potent ever cruiser divisions. This summer’s Sherry FitzGerald-sponsored DBSC season gets under way in six weeks time, and Maybury’s class one will have an ultra-competitive 20-boat fleet, of which 13 are J109s.

The buoyant numbers are a boost for cruiser racing that will see a major circuit of fixtures around the coast between June 9th and July 9th, as follows:

June 9th-11th: ICRA Nationals, Royal Cork Yacht Club

June 14th: Dún Laoghaire to Dingle, National Yacht Club

June 21st-24th: Sovereigns Cup, Kinsale Yacht Club

July 5th-8th: WIORA, Aran Islands

July 6th-9th: Dún Laoghaire Regatta

Strong team

Twenty-three boats are so far confirmed with a target of 30 for Kinsale Yacht Club’s staging of the Half Ton Classic Cup this August. French boats have yet to declare, which means the West Cork club is likely to exceed its target.

Ireland will field a strong team with Checkmate XV, Harmony, The Big Picture and King One all set for the trip from Dublin. Cork's George Radley will sail his latest half tonner, Cortegado.

Six Irish sailors, including both of Annalise Murphy's parents, will sit on seven World Sailing committees from 2017 to 2020. Murphy's mother Cathy MacAleavey from the National Yacht Club is on the equipment committee while father Con, a Rio 2016 race officer, is on the race management committee.

There are other appointments for former Irish Sailing and Canada Sailing chief Paddy Boyd on the offshore and oceanic committee and Olympian Bill O'Hara from Ballyholme Yacht Club who sits on both the racing rules and umpires group.

A fourth team for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 is now confirmed; it will be revealed later this month. With more than seven months to go before the beginning of the next race in October, the new campaign joins Team AkzoNobel, Dongfeng Race Team and Mapfre in early preparations for the 2017-18 start line in Alicante.

The one-design concept has reduced the need for teams to begin their campaigns as early as in previous editions, according to race chief executive Mark Turner.