Lough Derg Yacht Club (LDYC) was formed in 1835, making it one of the oldest in this country. The first Annual Regatta was held the following year, and we have regatta programmes of most regattas held since then. The Club was based in Dromineer Bay, and for many years racing was conducted from Kilteelah Quay. There were no racing dinghies as we know them at that time, and all the vessels involved were fairly substantial yachts belonging to many of the landowners around Lough Derg. All communications were by flags, and competition was keen.
Towards the end of the 19th Century people started experimenting with smaller sailing boats, but it was 1920 before there were any big changes. That year saw the emergence of the Shannon One Design 18’ open dinghy (with one sail and three crew members), which proved to be a successful racing dinghy, and is still a very competitive all timber class today, a true classic still actively raced and sailed on the Shannon. A local fishing club initiated the other important change by inviting LDYC to share their Clubhouse and amalgamate our collective membership. We have remained on the same premises ever since, and the Club still has a strong fishing element.
After a six-year gap (due to the ‘Emergency’ as World War II was known in neutral Ireland) racing started again in 1946 and there were many new faces. Dinghy Week was held there in 1950, but the main events have always been the week long Regattas held in both Loughs Ree and Derg during the month of August. Junior Sailing Courses began to take off in the 1970s and Membership numbers increased. Urgent repairs to the old Clubhouse were needed in the 1980's and the Club started hosting more outside events as well as its members travelling all over the country to other championships.
By the new millennium, in 2000 the facilities in the old Clubhouse were becoming inadequate, so plans were drawn up, finance was put in place from both members and the bank and the decision was made to demolish the old building and erect a new more efficient one on the same site. The building was part constructed by the members, enabling the clubs resources to stretch much further than its finances otherwise would allow, and enabled every member contribute something to what is very much a "Member's Club" with everyone involved really enjoying the building works as it progressed. There was a great team spirit, and the result is what you see today.
LDYC has also managed to acquire more land over the years, so there is now room for tents, caravans and some boat storage as well. We feel our dinghy sailing facilities are second to none in this country. I am reliably informed that at one large event (probably a National or European Championship) 120 small racing boats were launched in 30 minutes! Also the racing area is never far from shore, so time is not wasted just getting there, and more races can be fitted in each day if necessary. The LDYC Regatta even has races held after "Afternoon Tea" a long standing tradition at the Club.
We run a comprehensive programme of School Sailing for all local schools that wish to participate. It runs during term time from April to the end of October – weather permitting – and costs very little. This means that children can be introduced to sailing without having to buy a boat and all the gear. The July Junior Sailing Courses continue to thrive, and participants learn in a variety of dinghies, including Optimists, Mirrors, Pico's, Lasers and others.
Lough Derg is home to many very talented sailors, both those whose competitive successes have been achieved representing Ireland at World and European events, but far more importantly, full of people who just enjoy being out on the water, with their friends and families, pottering about in boats and enjoying a swallows and amazon existence, with the occasional adrenalin charged race, far removed from "Play Stations" and the like.
The Club has an active membership, with many who join us from far away places like Dublin, London, New York, Germany and even closer places like Cork and Clonmel. LDYC runs events for many dinghy and keelboat (trailerable) classes which because we sail on a freshwater lake, with shelter from most wind directions, extends the sailing season into the shoulder Spring and Autumn months, many of these events are growing in popularity.
LDYC is also readily accessible by road in under 2 hours from almost anywhere in Ireland, with 95%+ of that journey on our excellent Motorway system.
Latitude/longitude: 52.926N 008.273W