Saturday 27th April Race report

Saturday 27th April provide the opening DBSC race for the Twentyones after the opening Tuesday race was cancelled due to lack of wind.

All 4 boats raced with 17 crew on board. Wind was 12- 14 kts gusting up to 16kts in north of east direction. Following a few days of north easterlies there was a easterly swell was present also.

The course was D6 – Boyd, Battery, Poldy, Pier, Molly, Turning, Finish (colour denotes port / starboard rounding) Turning Mark was the designated start mark.

The start was close with all boats electing to start closer to the Hut. Geraldine (white) kept more midline while Estelle (blue) Garavogue (black) and Naneen (yellow) went right in. Naneen following tight behind the others got enough water to get inside Garavogue and perfectly placed to windward hitting the line at the start signal. The dreaded individual recall signal was sounded, and Estelle duly returned to restart.

Naneen and Garavogue had a short battle of wits but being windward allowed Naneen to edge forward to command the fleet. Estelle however recovered well and was soon sailing fast to windward and a force to be reckoned with. Geraldine tacked first followed by Estelle and Naneen, as leader decided to cover them and duly tacked with Garavogue following suit. However, it was soon apparent to Naneen that the direction to the first mark Boyd meant tacking back. Meanwhile the other followed Geraldine as they headed out towards Dalkey.

In hindsight it was evident that all were rusty on marks location however Naneen made the right call and was soon the only boat heading in the right direction rounding Boyd with none of her competitors nearby. However, on the way to Battery passed Estelle, Geraldine and Garavogue in the order returning to correct their initial navigational errors.

At Battery the water was much more disturbed with confused sea and waves against the prevailing tide which had just turned at the start gun. Naneen was again on her own rounding Battery and continued on towards Dalkey taking advantage of ebb tide before tacking to the lay line for Poldy. There were reports of Estelle rounding next however soon there was no sign of her but Geraldine and Garavogue were in sight with the former closing fast on Naneen. Geraldine tacked at Battery, and this seemed to pay off better than Naneen’s track as the distance between both had closed considerably rounding Poldy.

Naneen and Geraldine held position to Pier and Molly with Garavogue a little further behind and no sign of Estelle. What should have been a run back to Turning was more of a reach as the wind tracked north and the position remained unchanged with Naneen, Geraldine and Garavogue finishing in that order.

Back at the moorings Estelle was wrapped up getting ready for the launch as the other 3 boats began to pick up their moorings which thankfully went without any major hitches albeit a second attempt was required in some cases.

Ashore the usual debrief unveiled a difference of opinion as to the correct course. Soon all agreed that the correct course was D6 however it then emerged that Estelle missed the fact that Poldy was a mark of the course and after rounding Battery in second place went straight to Pier and completed the correct course from there on. The Class records final result as follows.

1.     Naneen

2.     Geraldine

3.     Garavogue

Estelle – Retired

All in all, a superb start to the sailing season and with many newcomers on board a great introduction to the Dublin Bay Twentyone class. Following sailing most enjoyed après sail in the NYC rounding off a good day.



It was evident on Saturday that knowing the course and location of marks on the water is critical to racing. The courses are dictated by the wind direction and each course letter refer to a set direction indicated on the course charts. For example, Saturdays Hut Course D is wind at 67deg NE. Wind direction on the day was 72deg so it was evident before racing that D was the likely course.

The number refers to course length and number of marks and one can usually figure likely course by referencing 1st fleet course. As Twentyones are last fleet – nominally slower, we expect to be one or possible two numbers down from 1st class start. On Saturday D5 was first start hence we were D6

Knowing this allows navigators and students plan race well in advance and more importantly start to map out direction for 1st and subsequent marks. It can be easy to lose your bearings at sea and a bit of practice and experience helps enormously.

The 2nd thing worth knowing is the relative position of marks. If you look at the Course map you will notice, there are 2 wheels. The centre of each wheel is a great reference – Middle (yellow) for north wheel and Omega (Yellow and black) for south course. There are 8 marks on the rim roughly representing N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW. the colour of each mark is carefully chosen to avoid similar colours in close proximity.

For hut starts the yellow Harbour mark is a great reference point. Being close to the start it can point the way towards the 1st mark for example on Saturday Boyd is to right and further out than Harbour and is the only red mark in that area.

Taking the time to get familiar with the course map and then practicing that knowledge on the water will lead to improved confidence to plot the correct course while racing.