Volvo Dún Laoghaire regatta promises to be a bumper edition
What’s even more satisfying for organiser Adam Winkelmann is 120 entries are visiting boats
IRC One National champion Bon Exemple, an Xp33, skippered by Colin Byrne, will compete in next week’s Volvo Dún Laoghaire regatta. Photograph: Bob Bateman
Dublin takes centre stage next week with a bumper fifth edition of Volvo Dún Laoghaire regatta (VDLR) and an impressive combined fleet of 377 entries in 25 racing classes.
Good sailing events are not all about the numbers but at three times the size of any other comparable regatta in Ireland or the UK west coast, the entry drawn now from over 50 clubs bucks recent trends in flagging attendances.
What’s even more satisfying for organiser Adam Winkelmann is 120 are visiting boats. It’s a huge achievement for the capital’s waters given Scotland’s version of Dún Laoghaire week. The Scottish series, organised by the Clyde Cruising Club in May, struggled with only 80 entries.
The biennial event organised jointly by all four waterfront clubs began in 2005 and immediately attracted 400 grew in 2007 to a peak of 485. The secret of its success is a local core entry of over 250 boats but with so many visitors in both the one design and handicap classes, organisers are happy to no longer be so reliant on local support.
In class zero for example, (a Dublin fleet that has suffered in recession) an entry of 12 boats is drawn almost entirely from outside the bay.
What is being seen in numbers is also backed up in quality. Three of the four recently crowned Irish Cruiser Racer (ICRA) national champions are competing. Two are from the Royal Irish Yacht Club that has 69 boats entered.
Class one champion, the Colin Byrne-skippered Xp33, Bon Exemple makes its Dublin Bay debut with class three champion Quest, helmed by Barry Cunningham.
Nigel Biggs’ Checkmate Class II champion is one of 76 entries from the Royal St George, which this week lifted the Mitsubishi yacht club of the year award.
Twelve Scottish boats are heading for Dún Laoghaire, with 16 from Northern Ireland, nine from Wales and three from the Isle of Man.
Racing begins next Thursday and runs until Sunday. Entries close this weekend and with good weather on the horizon there is a chance VDLR might still break its inaugural 2005 fleet size.