Ireland's one design Keelboat, the 1720!
In the past few years, we’ve been highlighting some of sailing’s most interesting people in our “Sailing Heroes” campaign. This season is going to look a little different as we take a look at the classes and boats that we sail in, that all have great ways for adult beginners to get involved. Irish Sailing has 36 affiliated classes at a Senior level and 17 at a junior level. This includes keelboats and dinghies, single/double/multi handers and locally made boats.
To start the series, we are going to look at the 1720 sports boat class. A class that has just completed their racing season this weekend down in Baltimore Sailing Club with their National Championship’s. A class that is unique not only to sailing but to sport as a whole, due to its inclusivity of age, ability and gender. Class Captain David Love has been working hard to keep the class like this and to grow it further, he shared some key points that he focuses on to bring people into the class;
Fitness, age and size = the boat itself is incredibly accessible and accommodating to people of all ages, sizes and levels of fitness, and crews are often made up of all of these.
Racing = with some of Irish Sailing’s household names being amongst the fleet it creates some of the closest one design racing around with very little between the boats on the water.
Value = the boats are great value for money, making it accessible to more owners
Mixed crews = a lot of crews have a healthy mix which allows for an incredibly social fleet. David records that this year saw 32 females competing in a 43 boat Europeans and 18 in a 28 boat Nationals. A significant increase on the years prior and a number he is keen to continue growing.
This weekend’s National Championship’s reflected all the above quite beautifully with all levels and ages of sailors out on the water working together to create a highly competitive and successful event. Some boats consisted of three generations of families working as a team, others held Olympic sailors and first time 1720 sailors. Such wide-ranging competency creates a highly attractive class allowing people to learn from the best while being considered among them. And the Saturday evening closing event in Baltimore Sailing Club can speak to just how sociable and welcoming the class is.
Speaking to other Sailor’s at the event they said regardless of how their boat was racing they were delighted to be out on the water everyday competing at such a high level surrounded by friends and family. A similar reaction to peoples experience at the Europeans at Cork Week.
"I love racing 1720s because everyone is so friendly and it’s a great way to introduce people to sailing, as well as a great boat to help dinghy sailors get used to yacht sailing! It also allows me to sail with my dad, brother and friends all in one go!"
Similarly, the only female helm at this weekends event, says she couldn’t wipe the smile of her face all weekend! Having sailed 1720s only once before she was delighted that she felt confident to take the helm while being supported by the range of experience in her crew on the boat.
Many clubs around the country have great ways for beginners to get involved – you can find out more on www.trysailing.ie or https://1720sportsboat.org/
Photo credit to Niall Power.