Since the construction of the fine Victorian harbour in 1820 Dun Laoghaire has been a focal point for yacht racing and sailing on the east coast of Ireland.
Since the construction of the fine Victorian harbour in 1820 Dun Laoghaire has been a focal point for yacht racing and sailing on the east coast of Ireland. Its close proximity to Dublin, as capital city, and impressive waterfront yacht clubs has resulted in Dun Laoghaire staging many major World & European Championships since the first recorded Kingstown Regatta in 1828.
The waterfront has changed a lot since those early days and in recent years the harbour, town, the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, National Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Royal St George Yacht Club have all undertaken major developments resulting in excellent on shore facilities. It was the expansion of the clubs, development of quality hotels and the modern 800 berth marina that provided a new opportunity to the clubs and the town.
In 2005, after an absence of almost 40 years the four waterfront yacht clubs agreed to come together and run a combined regatta with the objective of attracting overseas yachts and visitors to Dublin Bay for a week of racing and Irish hospitality. All the clubs, local bodies and commercial interests combined very well to host the inaugural Dun Laoghaire Regatta for some 400 boats in July 2005. The first event proved to be a great success and following requests from the sailors it was decided to run the Regatta hereto forth every second year over four days.
With over 2,500 sailors and over 480 boats spread across 30-34 classes, the four-day regatta held in Dublin Bay is now the largest Regatta in Ireland, yet has the welcoming, friendly atmosphere of a smaller event. The event has gained further credibility, significant overseas support and is fast becoming ‘a must-do’ biennial event on the sailing calendar. Four days of great racing are provided by Ireland’s top International and National Race Officers across nine courses in Dublin Bay and Howth. Racing is provided from Thursday afternoon through to Sunday and therefore only a requirement to take 1.5 days holidays. Since the Regatta’s inception the Organising Committee work hard to give the sailor great value in entry fees, social entertainment, accommodation and ferry travel to Ireland, with competitor rates organized for each event.
In 2007, Volvo came on board as Title Sponsor and have been subsequently joined by Spirit Motor Group in 2011. In addition to our Title Sponsors, The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta is very fortunate to enjoy the invaluable and continued support of our other sponsors. Our clothing partners Helly Hansen have been with the Regatta since 2007. Dubarry of Ireland have been long associated with the regatta and continue as our footwear partner and of course provide the Dubarry Boot trophy for the overall boat of the regatta and will sponsor the Dubarry Ladies Lunch on the Saturday of the Regatta from 2019. The Royal Marine Hotel our Accommodation partner, since 2007 are recognised for their consistent support of sailing in Dun Laoghaire. The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company provide invaluable support to the event in terms of access to their facilities, along with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, who have supported the event since its inception. The Regatta was delighted to welcome Collen Construction in 2017 and Rationel Windows and UK Sailmakers to the 2019 Regatta and we are delighted to again welcome all our sponsors to the 2021 event.
The strong association and support from Dublin Bay Sailing Club and Howth Yacht Club and Sutton Dinghy Club and who both provide personnel and equipment to the event and Dun Laoghaire Marina who also support the event along with Dublin Port Company and Irish Sailng are integral to the event’s success. This event is run by 300 extremely enthusiastic and hard working volunteers, without whom this event would not happen.
Previous Chairmen of the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta; Brian Craig, 2005/2007, Philip Smith 2009, Adam Winkelmann 2011/2013, Tim Goodbody 2015/2017 all of whom remain very much involved in the background of each event. The 2019 Chairman Don O’Dowd will be continuing his role as Chairman for VDLR 2021. Regatta Secretary for the Event since its inception in 2005 is Ciara Dowling.
VDLR 2021 will be a different format as to previous regattas in response to the changing times of Covid-19. VDLR 2021 will run in two parts. Part One – One Designs (2-4 July 2021) and Part Two – Cruisers (8-11 July 2021). 2021 will be the 9th edition of this event which has secured its place firmly in the International sailing calendar and is under the Chairmanship of Don O’Dowd.