Sparkling Dublin Bay

A colourful start on Dublin Bay: Squibs at the Royal Alfred Baily Bowl 26 May 2013

A colourful start on Dublin Bay: Squibs at the Royal Alfred YC Baily Bowl, 26 May 2013.
© Iain McAllister

What is the definition of a yacht club? One might think of a plush clubhouse, a bit stuffy maybe – especially if long established – and strict dress codes… But in the sometimes strange world of yachting tradition there are many long established and still very active yacht clubs that have never owned a clubhouse. They major on sailing – more often than not stricly amateur, or properly, Corinthian sailing. The Royal Alfred Yacht Club is a great example.

In his book Dublin Bay – The Cradle of Yacht Racing, Irish yachting historian, Hal Sisk, claims “The Alfred” as the world’s first amateur sailing/ yachting club. When it was established in 1857 the sport of yachting was almost completely professional – on a par with horse racing. One owned a yacht, but the matter of sailing it was left to a full time skipper, and paid hands who often fished by winter and sailed by summer. As Para Handy’s mate, Dougie, once commented on the Clyde:

“…it’s a suit or two o’ clothes in the year, and a pleasant occupaation. Most o’ the time in canvas sluppers.”

But in the mid-19th Century The Alfred began a trend that proved not to be a fad – the sport of racing one’s own boat with a crew of friends.

Last sparkling weekend on Dublin Bay they ran their annual Baily Bowl regatta for one-designs, impeccably, in good humour… and anyway, sprinkled liberally around Dún Laoghaire there are welcoming yacht clubs with magnificent clubhouses to use as base; clubs that have discovered the secret of balancing tradition with modernity. This year’s hosts were the National Yacht Club. Next up, it’s the Royal Irish YC’s turn to host The Alfred’s Bloomsday Regatta on June 15th, where fancy dress in the spirit of James Joyce’s Dublin is a fun optional “sailing instruction”.

The yacht racing rules – properly nowadays The Racing Rules of Sailing – were invented in Dublin Bay. Read all about it in Hal Sisk’s entertaining and beautifully illustrated book, Dublin Bay – The Cradle of Yacht Racing.

But stay a little longer for more snapshots of a sparkling May weekend on Dublin Bay.

Dragons running dead downwind from Dalkey Island © Iain McAllister

Andrew Craig’s Chimaera leading the Dragons dead downwind from Dalkey Island.
© Iain McAllister

Oops, a RIB goes walkabout. UCD Sailing to the rescue... © Iain McAllister

Oops, a RIB goes walkabout. UCD Sailing to the rescue…
© Iain McAllister

49erFX Olympic hopeful, Tiffany Brien sailing KIN dominated a competitive fleet of RS Elites all visiting from Belfast Lough RAYC Baily Bowl 26 May 2013 © Iain McAllister

49erFX Olympic hopeful, Tiffany Brien, dominated a competitive fleet of Belfast Lough RS Elites.
© Iain McAllister

But after all that battleship grey we need som,e colouir again. Squibs!

After all that battleship grey we need some colour again. Squibs! No.820 Quickstep won overall.
© Iain McAllister

Will the Dragons Phantom and Jaguar catch the Galway Hooker Naomh Crónán RAYC Baily Bowl 26 May 2013 © Iain McAllister

Will the Dragons Phantom and Jaguar catch the Galway Hooker Naomh Crónán?
© Iain McAllister

Yacht nomenclatur the RS Elite Momentary Laps © Iain McAllister

Yacht nomenclature.
© Iain McAllister

On the crest of a wave. Dragon overall winner Chaemira helmed by Andrew Craig. © Iain McAllister

On the crest of a wave. Dragon overall winner Chaemira helmed by Andrew Craig.
© Iain McAllister

Champagne sailing. © Iain McAllister

Champagne sailing.
© Iain McAllister

www.peggybawnpress.com

~ Iain McAllister ~

 

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About Peggy Bawn Press

496pg biography of Scottish yacht designer, George Lennox Watson (1851-1904). Significant book on the history of yacht design & the development of modern yachting. Beautifully illustrated. Many photographs previously unpublished.
This entry was posted in Clyde yachting, Dublin Bay - The Cradle of Yacht Racing, Firth of Clyde, Irish yachting, object of desire, yacht clubs, yacht racing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sparkling Dublin Bay

  1. Geraldine says:

    Great coverage of racing in Dublin Bay Iain, also fantastic to see volunteers from Belfast Lough Sailability there too!! Besides your good self, Gillian helping the Race Committee and Tiffany excelling in the RS Elite – well done Tiffany!!
    Geraldine

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