Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo The Irish Sailing Association

Marine Clothing

The Annual Conference of the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA), an absorbing all-day affair in Limerick this Saturday (March 4th), has an intriguing agenda writes W M Nixon. But for many sailors from all over Ireland and the other side of the Irish Sea, the high point of it all will be the announcement of the ICRA “Boat of the Year” selected by the ICRA judges.

We revive memories of the great year of 2016 by running our own informal poll - just click as you wish on this alphabetic list at the bottom of this story to see whose achievements rise up the ranking. We can only say that that the wealth of choice speaks highly of the great good health and re-growing popularity of “waterborne truck racing”

anchor challenge1QUARTER TONNER Anchor Challenge – Paul Gibbons from Royal Cork Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

Anchor Challenge: Paul Gibbon’s classic Quarter Tonner from Crosshaven was good on enthusiasm, and good on performance, her top line being the overall win in the IRC Europeans at Crosshaven in July, which he plans to defend at Marseilles this summer.

antixKER39 Antix – Anthony O'Leary from Royal Cork Yacht Club. Photo: Paul Wyeth

Antix: Anthony O’Leary’s Fast Forty+ may not have had her most successful season ever in 2016, but many crews would give their eye teeth to have a record as good, topped with the Class O win in the IRC Europeans in Cork Harbour in July.

BAM Sunfast 3600SUNFAST 3600 BAM! - Conor Fogerty from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Afloat.ie

Bam!: With the complexities of the RORC Caribbean 2017 still fresh upon us, we realize just how good was Conor Fogerty’s Class win in 2016 in this demanding maze of a race around the islands with his Sunfast 3600 Bam!. And on top of that, it was all just part of an extraordinary season with thousands and thousands of miles of sailing and racing

Checkmate Davd CullenHALF TONNER Checkmate XV – David Cullen from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Afloat.ie

Checkmate XV: David Cullen’s beautifully-presented classic Half Tonner Checkmate XV found form to rocket to the top in the ICRA Nats at his home port of Howth in June in a very convincing style. Dave also skippered the J/109 Storm to a class win in the Volvo Round Ireland as Euro Carparks, but maybe that should count as a success for the Kelly family’s Storm, which also won the J/109 Nationals

Cartoon Quarter tonnerQUARTER TONNER Cartoon – Ken Lawless & Sybil McCormack  from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Photo: Afloat.ie

Cartoon V: Ken Lawless & Sybil McCormack (RIYC) with their characterful Quarter Tonner came sweeping through the IRC Nationals to win their class in style.

dark angel yachtDUBOIS 37 Dark Angel – Tony Ackland from Swansea. Photo: Bob Bateman

Dark Angel: Tony Ackland from Swansea turned all heads with his handsome boat which in a previous life was well known in both Cork Harbour and Galway. There’s more than just looks to the Angel – she won IRC 1 in the Europeans at Crosshaven.

Harmony yachtHALF TONNER Harmony – Jonny Swan from Howth Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

Harmony: Jonny Swan’s wooden-built classic Half Tonner Harmony benefitted from an under-deck laminated fore-and-aft girder installed by Dougal McMahon of Belmont in County Offaly literally to provide a bit of backbone, and it worked a treat. In many victories, Harmony won IRC 3 in the Europeans at Cork.

Irelands Eye Kilcullen j24J24 Ireland's Eye Kilcullen – HYC under-25s from Howth Yacht Club

Ireland’s Eye Kilcullen: The HYC nippers – aka the under-25s – in the club-backed J/24 showed there’s still life in this classic Johnstone design. In open events they took second place in Class 4 at Cork Week and the IRC Europeans, they also took third overall in the J/24 Under 25 Europeans. And in the class in Ireland they won the Nationals (7 wins in 7 races), the Northerns, the Southerns, and the Westerns.

Jump JuiceKER36 Jump Juice - Conor Phelan from Royal Cork Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

Jump Juice: Like good wine, Conor Phelan’s Ker 36 from Cork improves with age. They won the RORC Easter Challenge in ferocious weather in the Solent overall, and they won Class O in convincing style at the ICRA Nats in June.

Joker 2 J109J109 Joker 2 - John Maybury from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Photo: Afloat.ie

Joker 2: If you wanted a demonstration of the J/109’s all round ability, John Maybury’s Joker 2 provided it in 2016. She recorded a back-to-back win in the ICRA Nats – the only boat to do so in 2015-2016 – and under the skippering of Commandant Barry Byrne, she was the first winner of the new inter-forces Beaufort Cup including winning its Fastnet Race. Same boat, but completely different crews – Joker 2 makes a special claim for top boat of the year

OctopussE E BoatE–BOAT OctopussE - Pat O’Neill from Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club. Photo: Afloat.ie

OctopussE: The Julian Everitt-designed E Boat is a blast from the past, a miniature offshore racer in which the vertical keel can be retracted completely into the hull. The fleet at Clontarf deserve every credit for their multiple use, including club racing and canal cruising. But it is Pat O’Neill who carries it all through with competition in the ICRA Nats, and he won IRC 4.

Rockabill Paul O Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill – Paul O'Higgins  from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Photo: Afloat.ie

Rockabill VI: It takes courage to start racing in a boat with a massive international success record like the JPK 10.80, but Paul O’Higgins was game for the challenge when he took Rockabill VI fresh out of the wrappings to do the Volvo Round Ireland Race in June, and came within an ace of a class win. He then re-surfaced for the IRC Europeans at Cork in July – and won IRC 2.

Who is Your ICRA Boat of Year 2016?
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
  • Votes: (0%)
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Published in ICRA

Conor Fogerty's BAM from Howth Yacht Club is lying second overall in class and fourth overall in the inaugural Solo Fastnet race this morning. Fogerty is expected to finish the five day course tomorrow.

The Royal Western Yacht Club of England (RWYC) has certified this ‘Solo Fastnet’ as an official qualifier for the 2017 OSTAR race in May 2017. The category 2 race was designed by solo sailors for solo sailors who want to test their skills and endurance in an offshore race across the unpredictable North Atlantic Ocean, and is open to any IRC rated boat or class boats racing under their class rules.

Conor, who celebrated his 45th birthday during the race, has done more than 300,000 nautical miles of offshore sailing, including 30 Transatlantic and 2 Round the World trips - one as skipper on Cardiff for the Clipper Round the World Race in 2005/06. New to short handed sailing on his Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 ‘Bam’, he won the 2-handed ISORA series in 2015 and was 6th overall. Many of you will also have read of his offshore racing exploits this year including winning IRC Class 3 in the Caribbean 600, earning him the 'Afloat Sailor of the Month' in February and also finished 3rd in Class 3 in the recent Round Ireland Race.

His practice by taking ‘Bam’ single-handed from St Martin to the Azores earlier this summer is part of his calculated regime to prepare for this event. Conor reported ‘I'm keen to progress in the single handed sailing, and see this event as a great opportunity to race against far more experienced single handed sailors, and perhaps nip at their heels!’ It’s no secret that Conor also has eyes on the 2017 OSTAR Race. The OSTAR (The Original Single-handed Transatlantic Race) founded by Cockleshell hero Blondie Hasler in 1960 and run every four years since and the ‘TWOSTAR’, first held in 1981, will both start from Plymouth heading for Newport, Rhode Island on 29th May 2017.

Saturday’s inaugural SORC Round the Rock Race is a Category 2 (ISAF) race and designed by solo sailors for solo sailors. It’s heralded as being ‘for Corinthian sailors who want to test their skills and endurance in a substantial offshore race - a race that only requires a week's holidays to complete but still offers the excitement and challenge of nights at sea combined with the unpredictable nature of North Atlantic weather’.

The Notice of Race specifies the experience required to participate as: ‘The skipper is required to have substantial offshore short handed sailing experience including solo nights offshore. The race is challenging especially for a solo skipper, requiring well developed navigation skills, practiced boat handling in both strong and light conditions and familiarity with managing the effects of fatigue and limited sleep. If you are in any doubt regarding your experience you are encouraged to contact the RC for guidance.

Rob Craigie, Race Director of the SORC Round the Rock Race, said: “The Round the Rock Race enabled us to establish a long distance UK-based iconic solo race which would be both tactically and strategically demanding for sailors, but could be completed in a week. There is also a strong social element to the event, and we look forward to reaching Plymouth and berthing in the heart of the city in Sutton Harbour before celebrating at the race party.”

Track Conor Fogerty's progress here

Published in Solo Sailing

UPDATE 2200hrs: The RORC Caribbean 600 continues to be a race of swings and roundabouts as different boats come to the fore depending on which part of this multi-island course they’re sailing along writes W M Nixon. There are stages where the only encouragement is in maintaining your class position, and this Wednesday evening at 2200 hrs, Conor Fogerty’s Sunfast 3600 Bam from Howth Yacht Club has the excellent consolation for the Irish squad of leading CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) Division 2, and holding on to second in IRC Class 3, despite slipping to 24th in the IRC overall rankings.

The big news may well be that Adrian Lee’s reliable steed, the Cookson 50 Lee Overlay Partners, from the Royal St. George Yacht Club, seems finally to have got her skates on, and she was pushing towards 14 knots to be lying 8th overall in IRC – her best placing to date in this year’s race – to have her second in the IRC canting keel division with 57 miles to go to the finish.

The situation is completely different back down the line off Guadeloupe, where Kieran Jameson & Co on the First 40 Southern Child are none too happy at barely 6 knots, and they’re back at 29th overall, though in the kindly CSA 2 they’re lying third in class.

At the top of the leaderboard, the Maxi 72s Proteus (George Sakellaris) and Momo (Diter Schoen) are finished and looking good for IRC first and second overall, but Piet Vroon’s Tonnere 4 is just 24 miles from the finish and could pip Momo yet, though Proteus looks secure.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for Jim and Kristy Clark’s mega maxi Comanche. They went to an awful lot of trouble to get the big fat girl back from the Sydney-Hobart in time to do this race. And for sure, they did take the mono-hull line honours this morning. But their elapsed time was 33 minutes outside the course record set by George David’s Rambler 100 in 2011. That’s the very same Rambler which made an unscheduled visit to Baltimore in August of that year, when her canting keel decided to go walkabout at the Fastnet Rock. 33 minutes. Ouch.

Published in RORC