2023 Review: A Year with the J80s

A Year with the J80s

Last December the school made a significant investment in a new fleet of J80 keelboats to replace the workhorses of the last nearly 20 years – the 1720 fleet.

The school started to acquire 1720s in 2004 and 2005 growing to a fleet of 6, regularly seen on Keelboat Teaching and Group Events, as well as on our children’s courses. The opportunity to upgrade to a fleet of 8 J80s allowed for an increased capacity, something which was welcomed by returning Corporate Event customers, as well as new training opportunities and to support the growth of the Irish National Sailing Club.

Monday the 19th of December 2022 was a sad day in the sailing school as the 1720s were lifted from the water for the last time


The boats were located in England, which necessitated a number of journeys by the team collecting boats and equipment. Once they all arrived in Ireland a full programme of commissioning began – with quite a few late nights in January and February. Hard work for the team which included Lorcan, Jeff, Robyn, Kenny, Cian, Ronan, Ciaran and Cillian among others!

Launch! First Sail – Saturday 4th February 2023

The first two boats were launched before the end of February and the first sailors were the Irish National Sailing Club members – it certainly was a great day!

Work continued onshore to prepare the remaining 6 boats and these were quickly added to the West Pier moorings over February and March. Teaching on the new boats commenced and immediately we noticed the more stable platform of the J80 being well received by students of our Beginner Keelboat Courses and instructors alike.

Some of the photos from the very first sail of the new INSS J80 Fleet!

The fleet was offically ready with the installation of the brand new INSS look – below the fleet on the moorings in their new livery!

Corporate and Group Events

The larger fleet also meant we were able to cater for larger groups we regularly welcome for team building and corporate events – and as you can see they were in high demand! We can cater for 40 participants now on our fleet and can accommodate groups of up to 90 now at one time with partners.

Childrens Sailing

Of course, the Children’s Sailing Courses made great use of the J80 keelboats – the downstairs cabin, a feature lacking from the 1720s – gave us much wider weather ranges that we can now sail in – if anyone starts to get a bit cold they can pop down below to warm up! The Junior Club Saturday Sailing groups have made particularly good use of the J80s – and have been out on them nearly every weekend this November and December.

So, are we happy with the new fleet?

Yes! The 1720s served us extremely well, but the added opportunities and larger operating weather window, coupled with the fact they’re as easy to handle and learn on for beginners (of all ages) mean we couldn’t be happier with the decision.

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