Flying Fifteen sailor Ben Mulligan will be crowned best one-design sailor at Friday night's Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) gala awards ceremony in Dún Laoghaire.
Mulligan, who sailed to success in his 20-foot boat As Good as it Gets, will lift the George Arthur Newsom Cup, one of six premier awards at the country's biggest yacht racing club. The Flying Fifteen fleet, with over 25 boats, is one of the strongest of all the club's classes, bucking the trend for one-design keelboats on the Capital's waters.
Over 90 prizes will be presented across 22 racing divisions, a highlight of the Dún Laoghaire sailing season. Some of the historic silverware dates back to the foundation of the club in 1884.
DBSC commodore Chris Moore says: "It was, in everyone's recollection, an uncommonly windy year, with numerous races abandoned or, for smaller boats, severely curtailed."
Yet analysis of fleet turnouts, particularly of Saturdays, presents a conflicting picture.
‘Wind and rain’
Moore explains that for years DBSC have been noting that on Saturdays, in contrast to Thursdays, turnouts rarely exceeded 36 per cent of the 217 boats entered. “This year, despite what we remember as an exceptional abundance of wind and rain, the turnout remained exactly true to form – at 36 per cent.”
While boat entries and club income have held up well in recession (there were 320 boats 10 years ago), Moore does note some less-positive trends. “Cruiser-racers continue to thrive but the decline in DBSC one-designs continues,” he says.
Other premier awards on Friday night include the Waterhouse Shield for the best boat on handicap to Royal Irish J109 yacht White Mischief, skippered by Tim and Richard Goodbody.
The most successful new yacht in DBSC racing goes to the J97 Windjammer owned by Denis Power and Lindsay Casey.
The DBSC's celebrations follow last Saturday's ISORA offshore prizegiving where Welsh J109 skippers Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox lifted the Wolf's Head Trophy as 2017 Irish Sea champions at a packed National Yacht Club.
In a move designed partly to promote cruiser racing on the west coast, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) has launched details of its 2018 Galway Bay National Championships.
The event will combine both ICRA's top event and the West Coast Championships between August 15th and 18th, a later date than normal, and the first time for the port. Harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan is offering free cranage and berthing for the event, which could attract over 100 boats in four divisions.
“This will contribute to the development of top-level racing in areas of the country often in need of that extra kick to attract more people to top-level racing,” said ICRA commodore Simon McGibney.
Light winds on Lough Erne provided a challenge for the Irish University Sailing Association (IUSA) Northern Championships on Lough Erne last weekend, hosted by Queens University. Dublin University Sailing Club won overall at Enniskillen in testing conditions. More light to moderate winds are expected for Baltimore Sailing Club's staging of the Irish Team Racing Association's National Championships in West Cork this weekend.