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Royal Irish's Niall Dowling Has Cape 31 Success in the Caribbean's St. Maarten Regatta

5th April 2022
The bright blue Cape 31 Arabella of Ireland's Niall and Olivia Dowling
The bright blue Cape 31 Arabella of Ireland's Niall and Olivia Dowling

The bright blue Cape 31 Arabella of Ireland's Niall and Olivia Dowling won CSA-2 in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta in the Caribbean in March. 

The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Dowling who owns the boat with his wife Olivia enthused about his new Cape 31 when talking to the boat's designer, Mark Mills of County Wicklow.

“It was absolutely beautiful today, fantastic sailing through all those islands with spinnakers up,” Dowling commented. “it was great fun. It’s going to be a great class and hopefully, we’ll get a few more to follow us out here next year!”

The win under CSA Handicap marks the third rating rule under which the Cape has won a major event, after its well-publicised successes under IRC and ORC.

Niall and Olivia Dowling's Cape 31, ArabellaNiall and Olivia Dowling's Cape 31, Arabella

Arabella, Hull #24, has had a busy schedule since she was completed in Cape Town a few months ago.

It's not Dowling's first yacht to be christened Arabella either, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour helmsman previously owned a J111 of the same name in which he sailed to RORC success in 2011.

Dowling, who is based in the UK, is a frequent visitor to home waters in both inshore and offshore disciplines. As regular Afloat readers know, he took both Line Honours and the Overall Win in Wicklow’s Volvo Round Ireland Race 2018 with the Ker 43 Baraka GP. Both Niall and Olivia are also leading lights in the UK's Quarter Ton scene.

Shipped to the UK for preparation and then sent straight to the Caribbean for her first outing where she got a 2nd in St Maarten, she will soon be back in the UK for the Cape 31 Season in the UK, with over 20 boats signed up for an epic summer schedule involving teams from the U.K., Ireland, and the U.S.

As Afloat reported previously, four Cape 31s are currently en route to Ireland in time for the summer sailing season in Dun Laoghaire, Howth and Cork Harbour.

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At A Glance – Cape 31

LOA 9.56 m
Draft 2.45m
Beam 3.1 m
IRC Rating 1.15

Yacht Builder Mills Design
Model Cape 31
Performance Level Performance Racer

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