Sailing dinghies for adults too

I learned my crew sailing aboard a National 18 in Cork Harbor. This opportunity presented itself thanks to a sailing course for adults because it was in my late twenties that I had access to this sport.

Back then, it wasn’t a time when getting into sailing was as easy as it is today. From the crew I bought a new Mirror dinghy and then a Vagabond as it was the dominant dinghy fleet at the time in the club I joined – Monkstown Bay SC. At one point there was a fleet of 30 of those 12 feet. dinghies, which did not carry a spinnaker like the Mirror, but which appealed to me more – because the Vagabonds were piloted by parents and their children. It was a great class. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, teamed up for each other. There were so many boats in the class that she qualified to host annual “National Championships” under the rules of the Irish Sailing Association.

So the adults also sailed on dinghies!

But, little by little, aging affects the Vagabond fleet, parents get older, younger and often better sailors take over in the natural evolution of things. The fleet continued to thrive until these young people left, found work, moved away from the village, and gradually the fleet died out.

Some of these young sailors went on cruisers, others got lost in the sport, highlighting a discussion that followed my podcast two weeks ago on the Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s Under-25 program, to encourage young sailors to get into cruisers as they reach an age where dinghies may no longer be their choice.

National Dinghy 18 in Cork Harbor Photo: Bob Bateman

But, of course, there are also adults who sail in dinghies. The National Fleet 18, which I learned to sail, thrives in Cork Harbor. There are adult crews and fleets of mermaids. Dublin Bay and Foynes are places I talked about them. There are fleets of Wayfarers, Albacores, Lasers and the like with an adult and active crew in various clubs and even, as I have been pointed out to me, adults sailing Mirrors. Then there are other “open” and “keel” boats, the 1720 and 505, the Squibs and the like, which are not cruisers, so there are other opportunities for young sailors to stay active. in the sport.

I was discussing this with Brian Raftery of CIFAR whom I interviewed about the Under-25 Cruising Racing program to keep the kids in the sail he leads. Listen to Brian Raftery here. He is a member of the Sligo Yacht Club which has a very active GP fleet, a boat in which adults also sail in several clubs. “There are twenty GP14s in the dinghy park, 10-12 racing each week, which is less than half of the club’s adult sailors. Nationally, the GP is the largest fleet of adult dinghies in the country with around 40 boats at its national championships each year, ”he told me and added that the GPs have been successful in attracting young sailors into the world. their fleet.

He said he “would love to see someone tackle the under-25 zone in dinghies.”

That’s a good point. Why not?

As the dinghy classes tend to operate somewhat in isolation in the sense of the different clubs in which they are active, rather than within the larger vibe of the national cruiser organization, it may be more difficult to develop an approach. national / cross / dinghy class U25.

My underlying point this week is that adults are also sailing dinghies – so it’s also a way for young people to stay in the sport…

The important thing is to – CONTINUE TO NAVIGATE.

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