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A local Limerick sailing team has emerged victorious in the 43rd annual Gortmore Bell Race, held on September 9th on Lough Derg.

The race is considered the longest inland sailing race in Ireland and attracted 18 entries from various sailing clubs throughout the region.

The race was closely contested, with the GoJoe team aboard the J80 racing yacht, ultimately winning the coveted trophy.

Iniscealtra Sailing Club's Gortmore Bell RaceIniscealtra Sailing Club's Gortmore Bell Race

The trophy win was a tribute to the memory of Joseph (Joe) Crowley, a friend to all aboard, with the team dedicating their win to him after his passing.

Despite light winds, the race lasted over six hours on a shortened course, with only 56 seconds separating the first and second-place teams, with Rayon De Lunec runner-up and Dexterity third.

The Iniscealtra Sailing Club at Mountshannon organised the Gortmore Bell race, which has become a highlight of the inland Irish sailing calendar. 

Published in Inland Waterways
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The Royal Irish's Austin Kenny, Simon Redden and Austin Burke were the overall winners of the J80 class at Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

In an all-star Irish fleet, that included Clontarf's Pat O'Neill, the 2021 J80 World Bronze medalist, 12 boats came to the line for the seven-race series.

The Kenny crew finished the blustery four-day event on ten points with a scoresheet that included three race wins to be two points clear of Royal St George's Owen Laverty. 

Third was Laverty's clubmate Hugh Blaney on 15.

The 2023 regatta, the ninth edition of Ireland's largest regatta, concluded on Sunday with final races for most classes and a great festival of sailing across the waterfront and Dun Laoghaire town as four sailing clubs come together for the biennial event; Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club and National Yacht Club.

Published in Volvo Regatta

The Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School is preparing for the arrival of eight J80 keelboats in January, growing capacity for training, group events and competition.

After carefully reviewing the requirements for the next phase of sail training, the team choose the J80 to accommodate 4 to 5 students with an instructor with the small cabin adding extra options not currently available to the school on the 1720s.

The fleet is replacing the school’s six-boat 1720 training fleet. Operations Manager Glyn Williams explains, “This significant investment in the future of our sail training fleet is designed to meet the increased demand for adult beginner and improver sailing that has been sustained since the pandemic. We’re excited to be able to accommodate even more students in 2023, but importantly expand our charter, racing and group events”.

The school is planning an expanded beginner training schedule, as well as new coastal sailing courses, race training courses and more cruising pathway programmes.

School principal Kenny Rumball explains that training is not the new fleet’s only focus “each boat will be maintained in a totally one-design format, allowing for race event charter as well as to act as a support fleet for the Irish Sailing League. It’s an exciting moment for the school and these boats will play their part in growing sailing participation”. Kenny Rumball is also keen to point out that this creates opportunities with six 1720s available on the market.

Upgrading the Fleet

The J80s replace the school’s six 1720 keelboats which are now available for sale. The school is particularly keen to support the growing U25 representation in the sport. Here’s a race-ready, well-maintained package that’s ideal for a U25 team. Each 1720 has it’s own road trailer and school Principal Kenny Rumball is delighted to offer a discounted sail package to U25 teams as part of his new partnership with UK Sailmakers Ireland.

The school’s maintenance team spent the week before Christmas getting all six boats winterised and ready on their trailers. They’re all available for viewing in the school’s Dun Laoghaire yard.

The school’s six 1720 keelboats are for saleThe school’s six 1720 keelboats are for sale

One Design Fleet

A key feature of the fleet is that they’ve all been operated together from new and are truly one design. This will continue in school service, with school maintenance lead Lorcan Tighe having developed an operating schedule that will see every detail from part renewal and line replacements to length of time afloat being evenly matched across each boat. The fleet will shortly be equipped with new sets of UK Sailmakers' sails.

The one design focus will allow for new services such as fleet charter for one design events as well as to expand the school’s group and corporate event programmes.

They’ll also serve as a support fleet to the recently launched Irish Sailing League with competitions beginning in the new year. The whole fleet has road trailers and can be moved to any point in the country in conjunction with the MarineServices.ie team.

Getting Afloat

The boats are currently being prepared for their journey to Ireland. The first boats of the fleet land in the middle of January and all are expected to be in by the end of the month.

Training programmes for beginners start in March and the team in Dun Laoghaire will be using the month of February to familiarise with their new fleet.

The new INSS J80 fleetThe new INSS J80 fleet

Published in INSS
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Pat O’Neill of Howth and his Mojo J/80 team are well known for their success in major events across Europe. But taking on the J/80 Worlds in the class heartlands at Newport, Rhode Island was a challenge which raised the stakes by several notches, and then some. So much so, in fact, that some early success in the very international fleet was regarded as a flash in the pan. But they just kept on getting better, and though the leading American and Swedish crews stayed ahead of them right to the end to take first and second, it was third for Ireland at the conclusion of a hectic series.

Published in Sailor of the Month
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When bad weather hampered the final stages of preparation for the J/80 Worlds at Newport, Rhode Island last week, the pessimists wondered if it was stretching things too far, in an Autumn of unsettled weather, to have racing scheduled right up to the prize-giving on Saturday evening, with
seemingly no option for an extra day if things went pear-shaped.

But as we now know, everything went very right indeed, so much so that Pat O'Neill of Howth YC and his team in third overall found themselves getting an extra cheer as the lead act in a lively show with the prizes going out in the 3,2,1 order, Swden taking silver and US on gold on the sort of evening that should conclude every major championship.

See vid of the prizegiving below

Published in J80
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As reported in Afloat.ie, the showing by Pat O'Neill and his Howth crew in the J/80 Worlds at Newport, Rhode Island during the past five days seemed to be improving in tandem with the improvement with the weather, and having been there or thereabouts in the early races, he and his team
were very much totally there in third overall as the series concluded last night at the east Coast USA's renowned sailing Mecca.

Published in J80
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Pat O'Neill of Howth is a seasoned international campaigner with his championship crew in the J/80 fleet. But until now, most of his successes overseas have been achieved on the European circuit. This week, however, Team O'Neill have made the Transatlantic hop to the J/Boat heartlands at Newport, Rhode island, where they've found that the reputation of New England as a place for gentle sailing in the Fall - unless there happens to be a hurricane about - doesn't always hold up, as there have been some rugged and not very warm conditions to contend with.

Despite that, the Howth team have been in there battling for a place on the podium, and though the two leaders - Glenn Dardon of US and Per Roman of Sweden - are veering towards being out on their own ahead overall after three races, the Irish boat has put in a steady scoreline of 9, 6 and 4 - it's certainly trending in the right direction - to be,fifth overall, with more racing scheduled for today (Friday), and the series concluding tomorrow (8th October)

 J/80 Worlds results J/80 Worlds results

Published in J80
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Overall Sportboat division leader Jonathan Craig's J80 George 7 won last Tuesday night's DBSC AIB race on Dublin Bay

Winds were six knots from the southeast, giving a spinnaker start for the mixed cruiser fleet from the DBSC Hut on the West Pier. 

The Race Officer was Jim Dolan. 

Second in race 13 of the series was Sam Webb's Jay-Z.

Dinghy racing was held on Scotsman's Bay where there was a five-boat turnout of Fireballs ahead of this month's World Championships on Lough Derg.

Leading Fireballer Neil Colin of the DMYC won the first of two races with Owen Sinnott taking the second.

Full DBSC results across all divisions are below.

Published in DBSC
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Cadets and Young Ordinary members of Howth Yacht Club who are looking for a way to flex their competitive muscles can take to the water for weekly Pico team racing from 6pm this Friday 6 May.

Non-members are also welcome to round out the teams, which will be given a club Pico to race in as well as a reserved spot in The Light House pergola for race afters. For details see the Quest Howth website HERE.

But it’s not only Friday night lights at HYC, as Thursdays will also come alive this month with sessions for sharpening sailing skills delivered by a fully qualified Irish Sailing keelboat instructors in the club’s J80s.

The course runs for three weeks from next Thursday 12 May, from 6.30pm to 9pm and Quest has details HERE.

HYC notes that the last such course was equal parts sailing and socialising, perfect for easing into the summer season.

Published in Howth YC
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After their first overall in the 2021 J/80 Danish Opens which acted as the preliminary for the upcoming Worlds at the same venue, Pat O’Neill of Howth and his crew knew the stakes would be much higher in the big one, as the Royal Danish YC is a J/80 magnet attracting a Worlds fleet in which getting into the top ten would be a major achievement. But they managed that - in fact, they were well clear of ten, finishing overall at sixth. The crew were Pat O’Neill, Shane Hughes, Ryan Glynn and Steve Ryan.

Published in Howth YC
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Every Year Ireland's Search & Rescue Services deliver emergency life saving work on our seas, lakes and rivers.

Ireland's Water Safety Agencies work hard to provide us with the information we need to keep safe, while enjoying all manner of water based activities.

There's no better fun than getting out on the water but being afloat is a responsibility we all need to take seriously.

These pages detail the work of the rescue agencies. We also aim to promote safety standards among pleasure boaters, and by doing so, prevent, as far as possible, the loss of life at sea and on inland waters. If you have ideas for our pages we'd love to hear from you. Please email us at webeditor@afloat.ie

Think Before You Sink - Wear a Lifejacket

Accidents can happen fast on water and there may not be time to reach for a lifejacket in an emergency therefore don't just carry a lifejacket - wear it; if it's not on you, it can't save your life.

Irish Water Safety's Safe Boating Alert:

Check condition of boat and equipment, hull, engine, fuel, tools, torch.

Check the weather forecast for the area.

Check locally concerning dangerous currents and strong tides.

Do not drink alcohol while setting out or during your trip.

Carry an alternative means of propulsion e.g. sails and oars or motor and oars.

Carry a first aid kit on board and distress signals (at least two parachute distress rockets, two red hand flares).

Carry a fire extinguisher, a hand bailer or bucket with lanyard and an anchor with rope attached.

Carry marine radio or some means of communication with shore.

Do not overload the boat - this will make it unstable.

Do not set out unless accompanied by an experienced person.

Leave details of your planned trip with someone ashore - including departure and arrival times, description of boat, names of persons on board, etc.

Wear a Lifejacket at all times.

Keep an eye on the weather - seek shelter in good time.

In Marine Emergencies, call 999 or 112 and ask for Marine Rescue.

Lifejackets Checklist

Ensure Cartridges have not been punctured and are secured firmly.

Ensure all zips, buckles, fasteners and webbing straps are functioning correctly and adjusted to fit the user.

Check that fitted lights are operating correctly.

Ensure that Automatic Inflation devices are fully serviced and in date.

Check that the valve or lifejacket is not leaking.