Monday, July 15, 2019

Dun Laoghaire Regatta Preview

J/125 sailing off Ireland
(Dun Laoghaire, Ireland)- When the starting gun sounds off Dun Laoghaire’s famous harbour on Thursday, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta will not only surpass 2017’s fleet with a fleet of 498 boats, but will come close to breaking 2007's all time record of 528 entries.

A regatta of this scale brings key benefits to both the sport and the east coast town. It is a marine tourism boost and one that underpins Dun Laoghaire's place as Ireland’s largest sailing center and also the venue of one of Ireland’s largest participant sporting events with over 2,500 competitors on the water.

But, what’s even more satisfying for the Dun Laoghaire organizers this week is that nearly half the entries for 2019 are visiting boats – an indication of the future international prospects of the regatta.

Organized jointly by the four Dún Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs (the Dún Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, the National Yacht Club, the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the Royal St George Yacht Club), it provides a snapshot of the sport of sailing in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. With its focus on quality over quantity, the regatta has grown over 16 years into a premier sporting event, and is now competing with the best in Europe.

“VDLR owes its prominence to a number of factors. One is that it is one of the least expensive sailing events in Europe, thanks to generous sponsorship, so providing value for money,” says 2019 organizer Don O’Dowd.
J/122 sailing off Ireland
Many of the hottest racing boats will be participating in the IRC Offshore class of twenty-eight boats; it will surely be tough competition!  JACKKNIFE, Andrew Hall’s J/125 from Pwllheli Sailing Club, is leading the ISORA Series overall and is a potent performer, particularly when she can get planing. She will be up against James Tyrrell’s fast J/112E AQUELINA, three J/109s (Paul Sutton’s JAYDREAMER, Peter Dunlop’s MOJITO, & Nigel Ingram’s JET STREAM), Edward Hampson’s J/105 MOJO, and Lindsay Casey’s J/97 WINDJAMMER.

In the IRC Cruiser 0 class of six yachts will be Jonathan Anderson’s J/122E EL GRAN SENOR from the Clyde Cruising Club in Scotland.  The team has enjoyed some early season success in the offshore circuit in Scotland and hopes to continue that trend in this regatta.

The twenty-seven boat IRC Cruiser 1 class is likely to be the most competitive and hardest class to pick a winner this year. The normal Irish and Welsh boats in this class will be joined by the Scottish RC 35 Class who are using Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta as one of the Celtic Cup events, so six of this class have travelled to the hub of Irish Sea yachting.

Sixteen J/109s are featured in this class and are known to be potent in light airs, so it is likely that two or three of the podium results will go to a J/109. So far this year, a J/109 has won the Scottish Series, the ICRAs and the Sovereign's Cup, in varying conditions.
J/109 sailing off Ireland
The four J/109s that took the top four results at this year's ICRAs are all back, and all have good tacticians aboard. John Maybury's JOKER 2, From the Royal Irish, who was the 2017 Dun Laoghaire Regatta winner will have Olympian Killian Collins aboard. JELLY BABY, owned by Brian Jones from the Royal Cork has Killian's brother Mel on tactics. STORM 2, owned by the Kelly family from Rush has North Sails Nigel Young aboard, and OUTRAJEOUS, owned by John Murphy and Richard Colwell from Howth, has Olympian Mark Mansfield aboard. OUTRAJEOUS just won the Sovereigns Cup two weeks ago in Kinsale. Other top J/109s likely to do well will be Tim Goodbody's locally-based WHITE MISCHIEF from the Royal Irish, Brian and John Hall's SOMETHING ELSE from the National Yacht Club and Andrew Craig's Scottish Series winner, CHIMAERA from the Royal Irish.

Another good turnout is the 15 boats entered in the J/80 Class, which has proven to be particularly suited to Irish requirements. The impact of the J/80 may be relatively new, but one cannot help but notice that one of the favored helms in the class has to be Robert Dix, yet another product of the remarkable sailing nursery that is Malahide. His continuing sailing skill prompts us to remind the Royal Cork YC that at their Quarter Millennial Celebrations in 1970, one Robert Dix at age 17 emerged as the youngest-ever winner of the Helmsman’s Championship of Ireland. With the RCYC Tercentenary coming up next year, the Golden Jubilee of Dixie’s success is surely something that will get a special mention.

In the twenty-two boat IRC Cruiser 2 class, a quartet of J/crews have all been known to be top performers and have garnered their fair share of silverware in past events.  For starters, the two J/97s will be tough- Stephen Quinn’s LAMBAY RULES and Colin & Kat Kavanaugh’s THE JENERAL LEE, both boats hail from Howth YC.  Gary Fort’s J/92S JAGUAR and Andrew Miles’ J/35 SIDETRACK should in the hunt as well.

Despite the light airs forecast, the quartet of J/24s sailing in IRC Cruiser 3 class could be strong competitors.  Those teams include Steve Atkinson’s BAD, Lizzie McDowell’s SCANDAL, Doug Elmes’ KILCULLEN, and Flor O’Driscoll’s HARD ON PORT.  For more Dun Laoghaire Regatta sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.