The Summer season is over, the lift out has been completed safely, and most boats are on the hard for the winter. Some hardy members are staying afloat, hoping to catch some nice autumn late season sailing weather, or even one or two of those bright clear and cold mid-winter days when it can be a pleasure to have the waters of Dublin bay to yourself. The Frostbites are starting soon, and the DMYC winter programme of Thursday talks is getting underway. The club’s financial year ended in August, and in admin terms we have already started the new year, with the AGM on November 24th. It is a good time to take stock and look ahead.
50 years after our foundation we returned to our original values to underpin the survival and growth of our club. Our founders were and are typical sailors, self-reliant and somewhat individualistic, supremely practical, and very willing to work together to get things done. DMYC was set up as a welcoming club, open to all classes and creeds, to yachtsmen, motor boat men, and fishermen. When necessary the founder members rolled up their sleeves and got on with it.
These values are alive and well in DMYC today. We have brought new members in through our introductory programme, provided moorings where needed, offered advice and assistance, and made them feel welcome. Our volunteers have manned the launches, helped maintain our club boats, and decorated and maintained our clubhouse. By working together, we come to know each other better and have built a new spirit of cooperation. You only have to drop in mid-week to find members working together on their own boats or the clubhouse or sharing information over a cup of tea in the bar. The old Irish saying comes to mind, Ni neart go cur le ceile, or to put it another way, if we work together most things are possible.
We have had a good year with lots of activity, some excellent sailing, and boating, our moorings well occupied with all larger boat moorings full, a good buzz about the club, and a great spirit of volunteering and getting things done.
I am pleased to report that this year we are in sound financial health. We can now plan to build up our reserves for a rainy day, and invest in improving our facilities to better serve our members.
We had a good year of sailing, although the weather was mixed with the Summer weather slow to settle. Neil Colin, our Rear Commodore Sailing took a new look at this year’s Regatta, and set a long course from the harbour to the yellow buoy in Killiney Bay and back. This proved popular, with an excellent entry and some great sailing, followed by a packed bar waiting for results. As with any new approach we learnt some lessons, which will stand us in good stead, but it was a most successful day.
In mid-Summer we hosted the Ruffian Championship, with our own Frank Bradley as Class Captain of the Irish Ruffian Association, and again a very enjoyable weekend’s sailing followed. Many thanks to the support team who provided ribs and committee boats, and in particular to Peter Keay for manning the committee boat and to Paraig Bonnie who did a terrific job managing support logistics.
Neil once again took a fresh approach to the Kish race, moving away from the singlehanded approach. We had 50 entries and a terrific race in winds in the mid-twenties, downwind to the Kish and a beat back to the harbour. Despite some misgivings expressed about a single start, the race was a great success, with satisfied sailors thronging the bar afterwards, and a clear desire to see a repeat next year. Neil did admit to slight worry when a sustained gust in the mid-thirties hit the fleet in Scotsman’s bay after the first boats were in, but no damage was sustained.
The cruisers enjoyed some social sailing up and down the east coast, visiting Skerries and Greystones and further afield. This year for the first time since 2009 we awarded the Briscoe trophy for the furthest port visited at the lift in supper. Shay Quinn was a worthy winner in Adrigole for a cruise over two months that took him from Dun Laoghaire to La Rochelle, coming back via the Scilly Islands to Baltimore and cruising as far as Derrynane before returning home, a total of 1367 nautical miles.
In October DMYC member Attila Vedo set off into the blue in Camino, his faithful Hurley 22, bound for Lisbon and beyond. We gave him a good send-off with a DMYC pennant to fly on his travels. Joe Csibi lent him a sextant, and saw him on his way with a trumpet blast from the deck. When last heard of he was in Madeira – you can follow his progress on his blog here https://attilavedo.wordpress.com/2016/10/.
We wish Attila fair winds and god speed, and look forward to seeing him back in his home port in some future year. In preparation for his voyage, Attila circumnavigated Ireland in 2015, and his name really ought to be on the Briscoe trophy for that feat alone.
The Frostbites get underway on November 6th and we look forward to some good dinghy racing on Sundays in Dublin bay and the harbour
Boathouse and Boatyard
Denis Nolan and his team, with Dave Coleman as Slip master, and Paraig Bonnie on launches are in many ways the heart of the club. If a boatowner needs a mooring, Denis is the first port of call. His knowledge of boats and motors is encyclopaedic, and he is always ready with help and advice.
Denis and his team worked hard and well to lay and check moorings at the start of the season, manage the lift in, make sure that the two launches and four ribs are maintained in tip top condition, look after the somewhat ageing committee boat so that it is in turn key order on race days, allocate the moorings so that boats are safely moored, and manage winter storage. For many years Denis and his long-standing support team have managed the lift out and lift in, through good weather and bad, at a cost to members which are a fraction of commercial rates.
If you know of anyone looking for a mooring, tell them to drop in mid-morning, when Denis and his team can be found enjoying a well-earned cup of tea in the bar. Mind you our large boat moorings were fully occupied this year, so we may soon find ourselves having to look to alternatives.
When something goes wrong, Denis is generally able to fix it without calling in external expertise, saving the club substantial sums of money. Highlights this year included the purchase of a second hand Yanmar engine as a spare for the launches which will be reconditioned over the winter, the removal and reconditioning of the starter motor on Goose which was a miracle of ingenuity, which no commercial operator would have attempted without removing the engine from the boat, and the repair of the stern gland on the launch which involved re-tapping the fitting. Again, without Denis this would have involved an expensive replacement, probably including a new shaft. And these examples are only the ones I knew about!
This year, thanks to a far-sighted grant application by the previous Commodore Kevin Burke, and a very well executed re-negotiation by the Hon Treasurer John McAree, we replaced three engines on our ribs, leaving us well positioned for the Frostbites and next year’s race programme. The ribs are now also equipped with prop guards for safety.
Paraig Bonnie has been volunteering, and following the departure of Jean Kenny to Australia, working for the club as boatman. He is always cheerful and willing and ready with a well-turned quip, and is popular with members and staff alike. He found himself managing on the water logistics for the Ruffian Championship almost by default, and did a terrific job, much to the satisfaction of a demanding Race Officer.
Joe Csibi continues to manage the volunteer crew who man the launches, saving the club substantial amounts of hard earned cash. If you are interested in being trained up to volunteer, contact Joe.
Dave Coleman did a great job as Slip master, allocating hard standing for dinghies, looking after the ribs, and making sure they were always ready for action. When we were gifted a Wayfarer dinghy he worked with Dennis to restore it to racing condition, along with the club Laser, which will both be available to members next year – if you are interested give him a shout. He has also taken over from Paul Irvine as he DMYC representative on Sailability, and was very deservedly presented with the Member of the Year award at the lift-in supper.
Joe Csibi, as Rear Commodore House, is to be congratulated for a most successful year, again working closely with John Govan and a team of volunteers, within a very small budget. Highlights included:
- The small bar roof. This roof has been leaking, and estimates to fix it in the past were coming in in thousands, somewhere shy of ten thousand. Joe got a small team together and cleared the roof of paving slabs and other clutter, so that the problem was accessible. He then organised for a member who is a professional roofer, to install a new drain to clear standing water, and repair the damaged areas, in a barter arrangement. Decking to bridge the path to the flag post completed a very cost effective repair.
- Radiator in the ladies dressing room. The ladies complained of a lack of heat in the changing room and shower area following the installation of a partition. Joe worked with Gren to take down the existing radiator, fit pipework, and install it in the correct position in the changing room, saving us a lot of money by doing it themselves. Materials cost just less than €65.00.
- Small Bar decor. With the roof fixed, John Govan put the paint team together, and with Brian and Rosemary Welsh, Frank Guilfoyle and Jeff Brownlee, painted and decorated the small bar and steam cleaned the carpet.
- Clubhouse exterior painted. With John Govan’s help, contractors were hired to paint the outside of the clubhouse. I hope you will agree it has come out well, and gives a signal to all that we are here for the long term.
- Gren and Pat Carolan have taken charge of the kitchen, making sure all appliances are working and clean.
- Electrical and AV equipment. Michael Cutliffe looked after our electrical equipment, AV equipment, installed new hand dryers in the changing rooms and helped with general maintenance.
Joe plans to replumb the radiators in the main bar over the winter, as the old gun metal pipes are very suspect, and following this, to paint the bar. Volunteers welcome, please talk to Joe, although John may require proof of basic competence before turning you loose with a paintbrush!
Priorities for the future will include security, upgrading the changing rooms, and bar windows.
I would also like to thank Karin and Carlus, our permanent staff for their hard work in turning our finances around and making the club successful. Peter Tobin and I as part of the Finance Subcommittee met with them when things were tight and they were not found wanting. Karin is the first point of contact for many of our members and she has shown dedication and commitment to the club.
The winter programme is underway with Jim Kennedy’s navigation classes well attended, the Thursday talks about to start, and Santa Claus to arrive by the traditional lifeboat on December 17th.
Under Joe’s watchful eye Moontour had a successful season running water activity based Irish classes at DMYC, added greatly to the life and bustle of the club during the week, and made a good contribution to the turnaround in our finances. We will be welcoming Sean Greif and his team back to DMYC in 2017.
We continue to recruit new members under the introductory scheme, and our conversion rate when the first two years are over has been reasonable. The club was established by a group of boatowners and we continue to offer the most friendly and cost effective route to sailing from Dun laoghaire harbour. As our membership profile ages, we are losing some members at the full rate of subscription, which has reduced our income a little. We need to continue to actively recruit new members of all classes, and particularly sailors and boatmen new to boat ownership.
Our legal team continue progress our claims for property rights, while keeping communications channels open. According to Minister Ross the process whereby the DLRCC take over the Harbour Company is underway, and we await developments.
It’s a pleasure to be Commodore when a united and dedicated team of flag officers, committee members, and staff get on with the hard work and deliver good results. I would like to thank all members of the committee who worked hard, and in particular acknowledge the contribution of those who are not putting themselves forward for re-election. We also owe a debt of gratitude to all those members who worked as volunteers over the past year. I look forward to a new year and working with a new committee who will continue to grow and develop the club.
DMYC, in common with the other waterfront clubs, has an ageing membership, and it is important that we attract and welcome new members to sailing and boating,
I would like to see our new people taking on board the values of DMYC and working actively by volunteering or serving on committee to make this a great place for boating and sailing. We need help across the board, so if you are willing to make a contribution, talk to a committee member and offer your services.
At the moment, we have only one female member of committee. I would also like to see our female members take an active role in the club, and would welcome volunteers and nominations to committee.
I am confident we can get our lease renewed on favourable terms in the fullness of time, but will not be waiting for this to happen, but will plan to seek funds to invest in the further development of our facilities in the interest of our membership base.
Barry Kenny Commodore November 2016