DMYC Regatta Saturday 8 June Race report.

Saturday 8th June brought the first of the 2024 waterfront regattas which was hosted by the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club. The individual club regattas are a biennial event with Combined Clubs Dun Laoghaire Regatta being held in the intervening years.

All four Dun Laoghaire clubs agree on the format and the sailing instruction are common to all clubs. This year the Dublin Bay Twentyones form part of the one design keel boat schedule which are windward / leeward courses.

Prior to the event there was some concern at the weather forecast however by Thursday the conditions looked to be favourable albeit at the mid to upper end of the Twentyones range. As the day dawned the winds were North Westerly 14 – 16 kts gusting to 19 - 20 kts. Prior to embarking the four skippers agreed that reefing was the order of the day and following some teething issues soon all boats were reefed and ready for an exciting day on the water ahead.

The committee boat was on station out between Island and Poldy racing marks with the upwind marks laid between Pier and Molly. High spring tide was 13.48 and with a warning signal close to 12 noon there was still 2 hours of flood tide to factor in. The Twentyones were scheduled to have a combined start with Ruffians and Shipman’s and a 3-minute warning system was in use which might have affected some starting tactics.

At the start of the first race Garavogue had the best start but still had to work hard to make the pin end on starboard, such was the bias of the line. In hindsight the bias was likely as much due to the 30+ degree wind shifts as any fault of the race committee. Estelle, just under Garavogue didn’t make the pin and had to tack back to port to start. Geraldine was in a similar situation while Naneen got the timing wrong and started late.

Garavogue chose to stay on starboard heading ashore to take advantage of the flood tide while Estelle and Geraldine went out to sea. Having had such a clean start Garavogue was feeling smug until on tacking back to port saw to the horror that both Estelle and Geraldine were powering away ahead despite the poor start. However, the fleet settled down to the 4 rounds of windward leeward as set by the race officer. Approaching the windward mark Estelle had the lead followed by Garavogue with Geraldine close behind and Naneen was some way back. Downwind places remained unchanged, and all boats took the port hand gate back up the port side of the course.

Garavogue soon tacked inshore seeking a tide advantage and arriving at the windward mark had swopped places with Geraldine. On this downwind leg Estelle held her lead while Garavogue, sailing a little higher and gybing before reaching the gate, just managed to keep in front of Geraldine. On next beat Garavogue steadily increased their lead on Geraldine and was reeling on Estelle but still no change in positions. At this stage Naneen was a full leg behind the rest of the fleet but gamely sailing on in very enjoyable, albeit shifty, conditions.

At the downwind finish Estelle held on to the lead for the last round although Garavogue had closed the gap somewhat. Geraldine was third and Naneen the back marker.

The race officer confirmed that a 2nd race would be held however they would relocate the finish to the windward mark to facilitate a shorter journey home. A 3 round course was set with the Committee boat then proceeding to station to the outer windward mark used for the Sportsboats, SB20, and Flying Fifteens while a rib would be on station at the inner windward mark to finish the fleets using that mark, including the Twentyones.

The start of race 2 saw Estelle having a superb start with power and pace while Garavogue just about made the pin end. The challenge of laying the pin resulted in a number of Ruffians and Shipman’s in a melee with raised voices and sound of boat contact filling the air. By now the tide had turned so different tactics were needed with wind over tide on the beat. On the first beat Estelle held the lead, closely followed by Garavogue with Geraldine in 3rd place and Naneen some way behind similar to first race.

Downwind and the 2nd beat brought no change, but the lead boats were keeping in close contact. Approaching the windward mark for the 2nd time there was a radio announcement that the course was being shortened such that the finish would be at the end of the 3rd beat that is 2 ½ rounds instead of 3 rounds and a beat to finish as originally called. At the windward mark a rib was on station with flag S on display confirming the radio announcement.

At the gate Estelle was still leading but with Geraldine hot on her tail. Both headed out on port tack duelling with each other. Garavogue initially following, soon tacked to starboard to go up the middle of the course and got advantage of a good lift on that tack. Approaching the windward mark and finish, Garavogue was now in good position against the other two who were still on port tack, but some way out and surprisingly not yet tacked for the lay line.

Garavogue tacked for the mark and was delighted with being 1st across the line in race 2. Meanwhile It was soon evident that Estelle and Geraldine were continuing upwind obviously heading for the Committee boat stationed on the outer windward mark. Naneen followed Garavogue example and completed her race taking second place. Over the radio came an announcement from the Committee boat of “this is not your finish” Geraldine still behind Estelle having the advantage of shorter distance sailed back to the correct finish line first claiming 3rd to Estelle’s 4th place.

Overall results from the 2 races

  1. Garvogue           3pts
  2. Estelle                5 Pts
  3. Naneen              6 Pts*
  4. Geraldine           6 pts

 *Naneen is ahead of Geraldine by virtue of better result in 2nd race.

With the winds still fresh there was some apprehension about picking up the moorings close to the pier on a lee shore.  Nevertheless, all boats successfully executed the manoeuvre without engine assistance - a testament of good crew work and improving competence. Hal was watching from the NYC Balcony and provided a critical report when the crews arrived ashore and issued some tips regarding speed control and Jib use - refer below.

Ashore there was much discussion about the finish of race 2 with Estelle claiming a moral victory! However, a legal expert on Garvogue’s crew advised that morals have no place on a podium or indeed in law courts for that matter....!!

Many of the Twentyone crew repaired to the DMYC for their regatta après sail entertainment where excellent music, food and drinks were laid on. There was even a “Melody Boat” a wooden traditional sailing boat beautifully varnished from where an accomplished mandolinist accompanied by a fantastic singer performed for all assembled.

At the prize giving the Garavogue Crew were awarded 1st place and there being less than 5 boats in the fleet no other prize was awarded. The prize is a lovely piece of glass shaped as a sail mounted on a wooden boat shaped block with DMYC 2024 inscribed on the wood.  

Many thanks to the DMYC organising committee led by Cormac Bradley and Commodore Ian Cutliffe with the host of Race officers and support volunteers for all the hard work which goes into making such events happen - a superb job achieved by all!

Whatever about debates about moral victories all agreed that it was a great day on the water. The wind provided superb close racing and the reefed Twentyone fleet performed very well indeed, even revelling in the conditions. All look forward to the National YC Regatta next Saturday and the two Royals on 29th June and 6th July with normal DBSC racing on 22nd June.

Garavogue crew

  • Aybike Tombak
  • Fionnuala Rogerson
  • Jane McGowan
  • John Parker
  • John Sugars
  • Sean Doyle


Fionnuala & Sean of Garavogue with 1st prize ©Tim O'Sullivan

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