The CityOne Limerick

The School’s fleet of racing CityOne dinghies go beyond the traditional and carry each a sail that is a canvas selected by international graphic arts competition. The boat itself has been designed specifically for sailing within the Limerick City and County, and further towards the sea. Each is a marvel of high contemporary marine engineering, built in 2014 at Limerick’s Ilen School.

CityOne racing dinghy built at Ilen School Limerick Ireland

The brief was a dinghy design to enthuse young people especially; so it had to be suitable for training, but also be agile enough to keep more experienced crews interested. It was also planned for racing on the River Shannon right up in Limerick itself, in the heart of this dynamic city. The design, known as the CityOne, is from Theo Rye who says he based the idea on principles that sparked the explosion in dinghy building in the late 1950s and 60s; but brought up to date with a modern appearance and contemporary design details. By utilising laser cut ply for the centreline girder and transverse frames, with a simple radiused bottom and hard chine, it’s intended to be simple enough to build to allow anyone with enthusiasm to get involved. A light GRP sheathing all over keeps the boat tough but still light enough to handle ashore, and hopefully maintenance should be minimised too.

city one racing dinghy limerick city ilen school

city one raching dinghy limerick city ilen school

At 4.75m overall with a beam of 1.75m, and an open layout and gnav to keep the cockpit clear, it can take two or three crew. The moderate rocker keeps it sprightly enough but with decent stability to learn on or race. With a double bottom design and open transom, it comes up “dry” in the event of a capsize, too. The rig is based around a very simple single-spreader mast, but the relatively generous sail plan (9.4 sq.m main and 3.1 sq.m jib) gives enough power to keep things moving along nicely, as initial trials proved this week; the boat is proving easy to “get in and go”.

The level of finish and unique paint scheme (complete with matching sails) lift this a long way above a typical plywood dinghy, and the eye-catching design of the first dinghy really suits the style of the boat. The ILEN school ran an international competition for designers to come up with livery ideas for the hull and sails of the four dinghies, and the new fleet will hopefully be central to attracting a new and maybe a younger generation into boatbuilding, and sailing.

sail training ilen school limerick ireland

These spectacular stealth craft bring great colour to the water and have featured in the public exhibition Naumachia in the Cathedral, the Navigation in the Nave, of Saint Mary’s Cathedral.

city one racing dinghy limerick city ilen school
(l) CityOne racing dingies on display at St Mary’s Cathedral. (r) Minister Michael Noonan, centre, launches the City One exhibition with Ilen School directors Brother Anthony Keane and Gary MacMahon
city one racing dinghy limerick city ilen school
(l-r) President Michael Higgins congratulates Ilen School crew at the launch of the CityOne fleet | Ilen crew and volunteers: Robert Smalle, Tony Broe, Liam O’Donoghue, James Madigan, Mike Grimes, Gary Wilmott | Lord David Puttnam visits the Ilen at Hegarty’s boatyard, West Cork – photographed with school director Gary MacMahon.