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Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Irish Sailing Classes. Yacht, One Design & Dinghy Racing News, Class by Class
Tralee Bay Sailing Club is staging the first-ever Open
Tralee Bay Sailing Club in County Kerry is gearing up for a weekend of sailing on the west coast over the May Bank Holiday weekend. The weekend will start with the club's yearly "Spring Regatta". Four races are scheduled on…
Adam Winkelmann, National and Royal Irish Yacht Clubs, who joins the crew of the Portuguese entry Petti Portugal with reigning Dragon European & Gold Cup Champion Pedro Andrade at the helm
The Dragon European Championships kick off in San Remo, Italy on Monday next. Irish interest in the three-man keelboat competition will be with Adam Winkelmann, National and Royal Irish Yacht Clubs, who joins the crew of the Portuguese entry Petti…
Dave Cullen (left) and Nigel Biggs are the new joint owners of the latest Checkmate XX, a First 50
Q – What is 18 + 15? A – XX of course! The arrival of a new First 50, Checkmate XX into Howth Yacht Club will see the crews of Nigel Biggs’ Checkmate XVIII joining forces with Dave Cullen’s Checkmate…
After a three-year pandemic lay-off, the IUSA Keelboat Nats come back to colourful life in the club-owned J/80s at Howth
The last weekend of March in Ireland is usually not noted for an almost-dangerous amount of highly-radiated sunshine and light breezes. But Race Officer Scorie Walls had to cope with both at Howth in putting through the full 18-race programme…
Jelly Baby ready for the road north
Kevin O’Neill’s boat-shed at Kirkistown on the Ards Peninsula in Co Down has seen many boat restorations, the most recent being the MGRS 34, Twenty Twenty for Rex Robinson of Dublin Bay (renamed Debbie R in memory of his late…
Waszp Champion Charlie Cullen of the Royal St. George Yacht Club finished third in his first event of the season held in Imperia Italy
Slalom and U20 European Waszp Champion Charlie Cullen of the Royal St. George Yacht Club finished third in his first event of the season held in Imperia Italy. The event run by Dry Laps and Yacht Club Imperia from March…
Irish Master Shirley Gilmore racing under the Basilica of Our Lady in Valetta Harbour, Malta
The Royal Malta Yacht Club hosted the first-ever Malta ILCA/Laser Masters regatta, part of the extremely popular EuroMasters Circuit. The regatta took place from March 18-20. As a first-ever edition, slightly off the beaten track, the very small turnout of…
Lough Neagh Sailing Club will be running Flying Fifteen one-design keelboat starting practice sessions
Lough Neagh Sailing Club will be running Flying Fifteen one design keelboat starting practice sessions and three Windward-Leeward races on Saturday 9th April 2022 a shakedown event for the 2022 season.  The Oxford Island event is open to all members…
A group of Ukrainian protesters on a motor boat, most of them children, tried to block Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s 456-foot superyacht Solaris from docking at the Turkish port city of Bodrum on Monday, March 21, according to local media
A superyacht linked to sanctioned billionaire and Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich was met with a protest as it arrived at port in Bodrum, Turkey. Members of the Optimist dinghy Sailing Team Ukraine met the vessel in a small…
Tom Higgins took home the gold medal in the Standard fleet at the inaugural Grant Thornton Sprint Regatta held in July last year
Royal St. George's Tom Higgins might be focused on his preparations for the upcoming ILCA/Laser U21 Europeans, but local rivalries are still on his mind as he looks forward to the first Grant Thornton Sprint Regatta of 2022. The Dún…
Malahide Yacht Club St. Patrick's Day Open Regatta ILCA 6 winner Charlie Savage of Rush Sailing Club
Malahide Yacht Club in North County Dublin kicked off its 2022 dinghy racing season in style with over 70 entries for its inaugural St. Patrick’s Open Regatta which took place on Friday, 18th March 2022 on the new bank holiday…
Already named and logoed and ready to make a splash in Howth, the green hull of the Cape 31 Valkyrie is prepared to be shipped from South Africa
It looks like the four brand new Irish Cape 31s will be landing on Irish shores pretty soon if the latest photos posted to social media are anything to go by. This weekend's photos from the Facebook account of Cape…
Kinsale Squibs enjoyed great conditions for the final races of the club's Frostbite Series
The Squib Outlaw sailed by Ian Travers and Keith O'Riordan were the overall winners of the Custom Rigging Frostbites at Kinsale Yacht Club yesterday in a mix of conditions that included some heavy squalls.  After 12 races sailed, and with a…
Anchor Challenge (left) back in Crosshaven with sistership Panic also on the RCYC hardstanding
Although this Quarter Tonner has had three previous Cork owners, Anchor Challenge has spent the past few seasons in a shed in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, well away from her original moorings. Happily now, however, the ICRA class…
95th Bacardi Cup winners - Mateusz Kusznierewicz/Bruno Prada
The weather front that was expected to sweep through Biscayne Bay after racing on Saturday, March 12, arrived early, with the strong wind forcing racing to be cancelled for all classes at 0900 hours this morning. It meant Cork's Peter…
Star Class race five at the Bacardi Cup
On the penultimate day of racing at the Bacardi Cup and Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta, Miami turned on another day of exhilarating sailing, with a consistent southerly breeze of 12-17 knots across the race courses. Cork's Peter and Robert O'Leary…

Irish Sailing Classes and Association – There’s no shortage of one-design classes from which to choose and each gives its enthusiasts great competition, fun and camaraderie, writes Graham Smith in this review of the classes. 

One-design racing is where it all starts. It is, after all, where all the top sailors earned their stripes, battling away for line honours without a thought for a handicapper’s calculator wiping away a hard-fought victory!

Indeed, you could count on less than one hand the number of top Irish sailors who didn’t cut their teeth in a one-design dinghy! Just think of Cudmore, Barrington, Watson, Wilkins, Hennessy and Dix to name a few and you realise that they honed their skills in everything from Enterprises to Lasers and a lot in between.

At present count, there are a little over 30 one-design classes in Ireland, split almost evenly between dinghies and keelboats, a statistic which might raise a few eyebrows. They range from the long-established Mermaids, IDRA14s and Dragons to the newer additions like Fevas, Topaz and RS Elite. They all fill a particular need and give their owners and crews considerable enjoyment.

Many have attracted their World or European Championships to Irish waters over the years and while 2009 is notable for a lack of such events here, the following year will see the Etchells Worlds at Howth and perhaps a few other international regattas too.

In addition to the review, we asked each class to complete a questionnaire giving details of their fleet numbers, whether they were on a growth pattern or holding their own, so we could highlight those ‘on the up’ and those remaining static in terms of numbers. The older traditional designs, as you might imagine, fall into the latter category, although that’s not a negative!

CLASS REVIEW  The State of the Classes – League Table (as at February 2009)

S = Static; U = Up/growing

275     Optimist   U

200+   Laser   S

189     Mermaid   S

160     Flying Fifteen   S

130     RS Feva   U

115     Shannon One Design    U

100+   Mirror   S

100+   Topper   U

99       Topaz   U

94       Laser SB3   U

87       GP14   U

85       Squib   S

70       Fireball   S

70       Ruffian   S

60       J24   S

60       Shipman   S

52       Dragon   S

50       RS400/200   S

50       420    U

43       Multihulls    U

42       Dragon    S

40       Water Wags    U

40       Wayfarer    S

34       IDRA14    U

33       Puppeteer    U

28       Etchells    S

27       E-Boat    U

26       Glen    S

25       Enterprise    S

18       Sigma 33    S

18       Howth 17    U

13       RS Elite    U

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