Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Irish Sailing Classes. Yacht, One Design & Dinghy Racing News, Class by Class
Clementine van Steenberge (right) and her crew Jessica Riordan from the George picked up another Europa Cup win in March and sailed to victory at the cut-short Irish Sailing Youth National Championships in Cork Harbour in April
National Yacht Club sailing and performance programmes ran all winter alongside frostbite racing, keeping racing sailors training and progressing at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The club had coaching series in almost all the main classes sailed off the NYC platform with…
The vintage half-tonner 2Farr pictured racing in Calves Week 2023. The boat has recently been refurbished and optimised ahead of competition at July's Volvo Cork Week Regatta where she will face the ICRA Boat of the Year, the half tonner Swuzzlebubble
Competition in Volvo Cork Week 2024's IRC classes are shaping up with some interesting battles developing, particularly in the vintage quarter tonner and half tonner classes. The 2024 regatta intends to embrace its traditional format, with each fleet rotating through…
This charming Mermaid dinghy is perfect for anyone looking to own a piece of sailing history
A beautifully restored traditional clinker-built Dublin Bay Mermaid One Design dinghy is now up for sale. Due to age and ill health, the owner has decided to part with this piece of sailing history. The sale includes a new set…
Olympic ILCA 6 qualified Eve McMahon (Howth Yacht Club) had the best result of the Irish Team at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma, finishing 14th overall of 114 boats after a 5th place finish on her final day of racing.
Olympic ILCA 6 qualified Eve McMahon (Howth Yacht Club), the 2023 Irish Sailor of the Year, had the best result of the Irish Team at the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma, finishing 14th overall out of 114 boats after a…
Micky Beckett, 29, dominated the men’s dinghy class at the traditional Olympic classes season opener in Mallorca
The British Sailing Team’s Micky Beckett scored a crucial victory in the countdown to Paris 2024, winning the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma for the third consecutive year. Beckett, 29, dominated the men’s dinghy class at the traditional Olympic classes…
An ILCA 6 race start on the only day of racing at the 2024 Irish Sailing Youth National Championships at the Royal Cork Yacht Club
Not many were surprised when the Irish Sailing Youth National Championships, which have been taking place at the Royal Cork Yacht Club since Thursday, concluded early due to the landing of Storm Kathleen and a deteriorating forecast for the following…
Tom Dolan (right) is a key member of a three-strong international crew, skippered by top Figaro racer Gildas Mahé (centre). The team, which also includes young Spanish racer Pep Costa, will compete in a 3,430 nautical mile Transatlantic course from the French Atlantic coast to reach Marie-Galante off the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe
Irish offshore solo racer Tom Dolan is taking advantage of a break in the Figaro circuit to participate in a new crewed Class40 race - the Niji 40. Dolan is a key member of a three-strong international crew, skippered by…
Clementine Van Steenberge (left) of the National Yacht Club, sailing with new crew Jessica Riordan of the Royal St. Goerge Yacht Club lead the 29er skiffs at the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals at Crosshaven in Cork Harbour
Over 90 boats and more than 100 sailors competed on a wet opening Thursday at the Irish Sailing Youth National Championships ahead of Storm Kathleen's expected arrival in Cork Harbour this weekend. The Royal Cork Yacht Club-hosted event saw three dinghy…
Some of the junior 4.7 fleet racing in the ILCA Munster Championships 2024 at Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork
For ILCA sailors Easter always means the Munster Championships in Baltimore Sailing Club in West Cork. Despite the early Easter this year the Munster Championships lived up to all expectations, with nearly a hundred boats travelling from around the country,…
29er action at the 2021 Irish Sailing Youth National Championships held in Cork Harbour. The 2024 event returns to Royal Cork Yacht Club this morning
Over 170 young sailors are set to compete in Ireland’s largest youth regatta, which starts today, April 4th at Crosshaven in Cork Harbour. The 2024 Irish Sailing Youth National Championships, which will be hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club…
Juliet Ryan was the Optimist 'Brassed-Off Cup' winner at Howth Yacht Club
The annual Brassed-Off Cup for Optimists which has been running in Howth for 21 years, was held on Sunday in breezy south easterly conditions over a relatively flat sea with some strong gusts to test the boat handling of the…
John (Johnny) Robinson RIP
It is with deep sadness that we heard of Johnny Robinson's passing on Thursday at the age of 87. He had been involved with Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club for over 70 years and was its longest-serving member. Johnny was known…
Big breeze, big skies, changeable weather - classic late March weather for the Intervarsity Keelboat Championship 2024 at Howth
Always having the Friday and Saturday of the last weekend of March as the "fixed fixture" for your annual event is usually guaranteed to provide lively conditions and Howth YC's Scorie Walls's regular yearly staging of the University Keelboats team…
Northern Ireland Waszp dinghy sailors will compete in the Four Nations Cup this season
Now that the Six Nations Rugby is over, the Waszp class is embarking on its Four Nations Cup. For the first time in Northern Ireland, one of the fixtures will be at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough. The others…
RS Aero racing in Spring sunshine at the Super Series 2024 in Dun Laoghaire Harbour
The now annual RS Super Series ran over the winter of 2023/2024, with racing open to the Waszp, RS Neo and RS Aero classes. Unfortunately, the winds were never quite right for the Waszps, either too windy or not enough…
The 2024 Etchells World Championships in Fremantle
Nowhere in the world do they regard the Etchells 22 with as much reverence as they do in Australia. And nowhere in Australia is the sailing as demanding as it can be at Fantastic Freo, otherwise Fremantle at Perth on…

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