Sailing: Byrne sets fine example as he bids for top cruiser-racer award

Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor to be among those shortlisted for DBSC’s Waterhouse Shield

Colin Byrne’s Cruisers One ‘Bon Exemple’ will be a front-runner for the top cruiser-racer award of the year at the country’s biggest yacht racing club in a fortnight’s time.

In a month traditionally regarded as 'out of season', November now represents little more than a lull in proceedings for Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) as it builds on its year-long racing programme on the capital's waters.

Byrne, of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, who sailed to success in his Danish built XP33 design, is sure to be shortlisted for the Waterhouse Shield, one of six of the club's premier awards.

Byrne’s IRC cruiser one fleet, with 21 boats competing, is one of the strongest of all the club’s classes, bucking the trend for IRC classes nationwide and in the UK.


Not only that, but Byrne, who previously won the shield in 2016, also broke the stranglehold of the J109, a cruiser one type that has proved so potent on the Bay’s inshore regatta circuit and offshore across the Irish Sea this season.

In Thursday night club racing, a DBSC mainstay, after 15 races sailed and with three discards permitted, Byrne won overall counting three race wins to boot.

Over 90 DBSC Summer sailing prizes will be presented across 22 racing divisions, a highlight of the Dún Laoghaire sailing season when the gala awards ceremony takes place at the Royal St George Yacht Club on November 16th.

Some of the historic silverware on offer dates back to the foundation of the club in 1884.

Others in the running for the premier awards, based on the season-long results, are Frank Heath’s Beneteau 31.7 Crazy Horse plus Ger Dempsey’s SB20 sportsboat for the best one design performance.

Turkey Shoot

On the 26th of this month, the club’s AGM bears witness to a changing of the DBSC Guard when longtime honorary secretary Donal O’Sullivan retires after 27 years in the role.

Interestingly, it is the outgoing commodore Chris Moore who will fill his shoes. Moore, over a nine-year period, has also served as rear and vice commodore. The AGM will elect a new commodore Jonathan Nicholson, vice commodore Ann Kirwan and a new rear commodore Eddie Totterdell.

DBSC’s popular Turkey Shoot Series that has attracted over 70 entries starts this Sunday morning, (Nov 4) taking the Dublin Bay fleet up to Christmas week.

Boosted by the fact that plenty of crews are available due to many race boats being laid up for the winter period, the Turkey Shoot has also been successful in attracting a new sponsor, so Sunday's first of seven races will be under the flag of car manufacturer, Citroen.

In the Indian Ocean, Australian Golden Globe competitor Mark Sinclair is expected to send photographs to race organisers of Irishman Gregor McGuckin's abandoned yacht when he passes closes to it this weekend.

McGuckin was forced to abandon his round the world bid a month ago after being dismasted in a storm. It is still unclear if and how the Dubliner’s 36-footer can be salvaged, but Sinclair’s photos may yet help to form a retrieval plan.

David O'Brien

David O'Brien

David O'Brien, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a former world Fireball sailing champion and represented Ireland in the Star keelboat at the 2000 Olympics