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All four major title-holders from last year’s Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) national championships will be in action in a fortnight when a fleet of over 60 boats from around Ireland will gather at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, Crosshaven to decide the 2017 winners.

The number is up slightly from 56 when ICRA published its provisional entry list on May 8. ICRA has said it will publish class divisions for the fleet closer to the event. In April, ICRA confirmed there would be no crew limit for the championships, and that the IRC Rule 22.4 would stay deleted after discussion earlier in the year on the topic at the ICRA conference. 

The closing date for entries is today, Friday 26th May and the €200 entry fee includes free berthing at the RCYC for the event including before and afterwards for visiting boats.

Checkmate half tonner ICRAHalf–tonner Checkmate (Dave Cullen) mastered last year's light airs at the Howth championships to win class two. Photo: Afloat.ie

As ICRA Boat of the Year, John Maybury’s Joker 2 from the Royal Irish YC will be the headline entry as the Dun Laoghaire yacht aims for a hat-trick victory in Class 1 following wins in 2015 and 2016. However, rival J109’s Storm from Rush Sailing Club and Jigamaree from the RIYC are amongst the pack likely to challenge Maybury’s form.

Class Zero champion Conor Phelan on Jump Juice will have home waters advantage this year against Scottish challenger Inis Mór while Howth YC’s David Cullen on Checkmate XV will be looking to repeat his home waters win last year further south on Cork harbour in Class Two. Ken Lawless and Sybil McCormacks’ Cartoon from the Royal Irish YC will defend their Class 3 title.

Joker J109 ICRADublin Bay based ICRA class one champion Joker 2 from will defend at Royal Cork. Photo: Afloat.ie

"A strong turnout from the host region is welcome and although overall numbers are down on 2016, the top boats have all committed to the championship,” said Simon McGibney, ICRA Commodore from Foynes. “There was also an unfortunate fixtures clash that we intend to avoid in future but for this season, under the circumstances we’re happy with quality over quantity.”

jump juiceConor Phelan’s Jump Juice will defend class zero title on home waters at Crosshaven. Photo: Afloat.ie

A new Coastal division will be introduced subject to demand and following the successful implementation in 2016, the Progressive ECHO system will now be standard for the ICRA nationals across all classes.

Class bands will be decided next week and will be announced together with proposals to address the fixtures congestion for future seasons.

The ICRA National Championships hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club will be sailed from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th June 2017.

Published in ICRA

As this Friday's entry deadline looms for the ICRA National Championships on June 9, Royal Cork Yacht Club organisers say they will finalise racing divisions closer to the start of the event and will endeavour to make the splits as competitive as possible. 'Currently, it looks like we will have Divisions 0, 1, 2, 3 and Non-Spinnaker for the event, says organiser Paul Tingle of Royal Cork.

Always a contentious issue, it will be interesting to see how ICRA split classes as some entries maybe in limbo, such as those between the small class zero and the large class one, made up mainly of J109’s.

At present, the Race Officers will be working in two race areas for the various divisions, with an In-Harbour and Outer-Harbour start area. The outer area is planned to be located outside Roches Point with a mix of race types including Windward/Leeward, Sausage/Triangle and Around-the-cans, while the inner harbour start area will cater for the Non-Spinnaker division as well as a rotating other division(s). Course type will be varied with the use of navigation and harbour marks inside and outside the harbour. Of course final confirmation and further details will be sent soon.

Tingle has issued an appeal for any entries for the Coastal Division to confirm their interest.

Published in ICRA

After the accelerating build-up to Olympic Medal success throughout the summer of 2016, there was hope in some sections of the Irish sailing community that the mood of 2017 might be different in pace. Tokyo 2020 still seemed very far away to everyone except the most dedicated Olympians. There appeared to be a feeling that 2017 should be the year for everyone else, and particularly for those who yearned for a less competitive enjoyment of boats and sailing. W M Nixon takes stock.

Once upon a time, we had seasons. Sailing wasn’t 12 months of the year, let alone 24/7. On the contrary, there were the rare old times of Opening Days and Closing Days (we’re talking annual sailing programmes here, not pubs), and Launching Suppers and Hauling Up Suppers and whatever, and not a sail to be seen at Christmas except for the rare oddball whose very rarity underlined the unusual nature of such a sight in the dead of winter.

But now we have wetsuits, and the effectively year-round programme at many sailing centres – in my own club at Howth, for instance, it has been continuous since April 1974 thanks to that Autumn’s introduction of the Frostbite series for the then new-fangled Lasers. And if you’re not actually out sailing yourself, there’s the means of keeping up with those who are, a classic case being the following of the tracker for this past week’s 500-mile Mini-en-Mai race by Tom Dolan, which had certain goggle-eyed adherents clicking-in at ungodly hours of the night to see how our man was doing.

It was a race being sailed at a flat-out pace and a level of concentration - despite a sleep-deprived physical and mental state – beyond the comprehension of most of the rest of us. Good luck to those who feel drawn to it personally, and can do it. But today, there’s an ISORA race from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire under way that is catering for all levels of involvement and commitment, and it has attracted a worthwhile starting line-up of 31 boats, encouraged by the welcoming efforts of ISORA Commodore Peter Ryan and his team.

holyhead harbour2Holyhead Harbour as sailing people know it – not as a utilitarian ferry port, but as a pleasant corner called Porth-y-Fellyn where there’s a sailing club, marina and boatyard

The word on the waterfront is that hyper-racers – people who expect three or four windward/leeward races per day at an intensely-run regatta – tend to dismiss this growing contemporary trend back towards classic Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association courses as sailing for people who can’t hack it in the frequent cut-and-thrust of artificial courses. But that’s to take a “one size fits all” attitude to sailing. If there’s one indisputable feature about our sometimes very odd sport, it’s the variety of the people involved in it – and that’s before you even consider the different type of boats.

On top of that, not only are there people who can get all their sailing enjoyment without needing to race at all, but there are grades of dedication in competition in sailing. This was particularly apparent a couple of years ago down at Dromineer on Lough Derg, when classes of Dragons, Flying Fifteens and Squibs descended on the place for the annual end-of-season Freshwater Challenge in October.

squibs dromineer3
Top Squibs from all over Ireland gearing themselves up for two days of intensive racing at Dromineer. But it emerged that for many of the local fleet, they weren’t into this sort of thing at all. Photo: Gareth Craig

There was an impressive fleet of top Squibs from all over Ireland out racing like fury on the lake. But there was also a substantial number of local Squibs that stayed in their berths. And it emerged that they hadn’t even entered the event in the first place. It seems that the Dromineer Squibs had been bought by people who saw them as handy and surprisingly comfortable little boats in which you could take the children, or more likely the grandchildren, out for a fun sail. And maybe you and a friend could do the occasional gentle summer’s evening club race for a bit of sociability. But the idea of committing to a frantic weekend of top competition was anathema.

Now while we’re not suggesting that the 31 boats which will be starting this morning in the ISORA Holyhead to Howth Race include a significant sector which are anti-competition, nevertheless there’s a distinctly relaxed atmosphere in some of the fleet in the knowledge that their abilities will be recognized by the use of Progressive ECHO handicap in tandem with the ruthless calculations of IRC.

The Number-Cruncher-in-Chief, Denis Kiely of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, set to during the winter in his lair in Kinsale and ran the figures from all last year’s ISORA racing through his mincer to come up with an ECHO handicap (which is performance based) for boats of all kinds, and these figures were available to get things going this year.

inss cruiser racers4The Irish National Sailing School’s keelboat fleet includes (left to right) the Reflex 38 Lynx, the Elan Beaufort, and the J/109 Jedi which is doing today’s cross-channel race.
Thus we find that a boat like the Kenneth Rumball-skippered J/109 Jedi from the Irish National Sailing School in Dun Laoghaire is racing today on an IRC of 1.010 while her ECHO is 1.075, but against that the majestic Nicholson 58 Rebellion (John Hughes) has an IRC of 1.056, but her ECHO is only 0.999.

With Progressive ECHO, it’s a flexible figure which encourages regular participation, for if you’ve had a bad day at the races, next time out you’ll find your Progressive ECHO has progressed even further southwards.

It all seems too gentle to be worth even thinking about by those whose every thought is competitive. But for those who enjoy settling down for a long haul at sea, with the opportunity to test boat and crew in the gentlest possible manner against other craft, it all has a certain appeal.

ISORA Race3 Entrants5The fleet in today’s race shows interesting comparisons between IRC and Progressive ECHO handicaps. Some have not made the line, including the veteran ketch Maybird, but a late addition not listed is the Sunfast 3600 Bam (Conor Fogerty)
And it will be interesting on several levels, for not only have we boats of a definite cruiser-orientation whose crews are going along because ISORA has gone out of its way to offer the alternative of a developing handicap system which might reward their efforts, but up at the sharp end of the fleet there’ll be some very interesting performance comparisons to be made between hot boats as they race in what looks likely to be quite brisk conditions.

forty shades6Given a chance, she’ll fly – Neal Eatough’s Forty Shades is an M-Tec Open 40.

The expectation is of a fresh to strong sou’westerly which mercifully will back during the day to free the fleet up to lay the course to Dublin Bay, in fact it might free them so much that one of the more interesting newcomers, Neal Eatough’s Open 40 M-Tec Forty Shades, could be across in half a day.

Another boat which will revel in a freeing breeze is Conor Fogerty’s Sunfast 3600 Bam – the Howth skipper is doing it two-handed with clubmate Robert Slator, and he sees the forecast weather pattern as providing them with a real chance.

sunfast3600 bam7Conor Fogerty’s successful Sunfast 3600 Bam! – a class winner in the RORC Caribbean 600 2016 – is a late entry, and he’ll be doing the race two-handed with Robert Slator

Inevitably the smart money will be on Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI, but with no less than six J/109s in the mix, there’ll always be at least one potent representative of this hot class ready to pounce if there’s the slightest let-up in the pace on the JPK 10.80.

One of these J/109s is of course Stephen Tudor’s defending ISORA Overall Champion Sgrech from Pwllheli, a boat which is the very personification of ISORA’s cross-channel community, as her regular crew includes ISORA Commodore Peter Ryan, who is also a former Commodore of the National YC.

Rockabill VI JPK10808Paul O'Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI is one of the favourites for IRC success. Photo Afloat.ie

As anyone who has ever sailed on one of the Pwllheli boats will know, there’s always a smattering of Welsh spoken among the crew. Aboard Sgrech, says Peter, they speak little else except when they want to curse and swear, when they’ll tell you – with solemn faces – that there are no swear words in Welsh.

“Somehow we understand each other,” says Peter, “but Welsh is so different – not just from English, but from Irish too – that you could sail regularly with them for 45 years and still know very little of this strange tongue that they talk away in all the time”.

Perhaps it’s the underlying camaraderie of the sea which enables the communicational oddity which is Sgrech to be so effective, but then too, the shared enthusiasm of Stephen Tudor and Peter Ryan is infectious, and sometimes it spreads to the entire fleet.

j109 sgrech9Sgrech at full chat. When you’re sailing like this and something goes wrong, then you really do know if there are no swear words in Welsh....

Thus the Commodore of ISORA expected a bit of a party in Holyhead Sailing Club last night notwithstanding the prospect of a windward slug first thing this morning (start was at 0800hrs today, there’s a tracker) and equally, with everyone energised by the day’s freeing wind (DV), he confidently anticipates an even more boisterous gathering in the National tonight.

national yacht club10Welcome home. The National Yacht Club will be the venue for tonight’s post-race party.

The ghost of the great John Illingworth, who did so much for the development of offshore racing in the 1940s, ’50s ’60s and ’70s, would approve, as he thought an offshore race without a good party beforehand and an even better one afterwards was not really a proper offshore race at all. That said, Illingworth’s most famous boat, Myth of Malham, was notorious for her paucity of cleats. When a newcomer to the crew demanded to know where he should cleat the headsails, an old hand told him they didn’t cleat the headsail sheets in the masthead cutter rig, as they trimmed the sails all the time....

myth of malham11Myth of Malham. John Illingworth’s double Fastnet Race overall winner was renowned for her shortage of cleats.

In today’s cross-channel dash, I’ve no doubt there’ll be many boats where sheets are cleated while crews settle down to enjoy the satisfaction of the boat trimmed reasonably well and making progress without the prospect of having to make a lot of irritating tacks before the finish. It’s different strokes for different folks.

Earlier this week I found myself studying a boat which is about as different from what your average ISORA racer expects in a boat as is humanly possible. This is Ian Lipinski’s 8.65 metres Griffon which took overall line honours in the 500-mile Mini-en-Mai at La Trinite at 0508hrs Irish time yesterday morning.

mini griffon12It would be a day’s work for a crew of five to race her- yet Ian Lipinski sails his odd-looking and demanding Proto, the 8.65 metres Griffon, single-handed and he wins too.

Griffon is the current pace-setter in the Proto section (prototypes in other words), and she’s a veritable floating laboratory for every development imaginable, including being at the forefront in the testing of foils. Obviously she’s also showing an aversion to that traditional notion of sweetly hollow waterlines forward, as exemplified by the schooner America. And if you dismiss her forward hull shape as being like a Dutch barge, next time you’re near an International Dragon, take a look at her forward waterlines – you might be surprised.

But the thing that really strikes me about Griffon is the number of tasks that the lone skipper has to perform all on his own to keep this machine at optimum performance. The sailplan alone is a 24/7 challenge, and rig optimization is part of it. Add in two daggerboards whose deployment offers multiple choices. Then you must never forget the ideal positioning of the canting keel in ever-changing circumstances. All that done, you still have to sail and navigate the boat. And if on top of all that you can find time to fire off visual and verbal communications with shore and sponsors, joy is unconfined....

Contrast that with the mood that might prevail aboard one of the heftier and more luxurious contenders in today’s Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire. The boat is nicely in trim, and it’s up to the helmsman to keep her there, and if it’s the autohelm as is now permitted, so be it. Alert as ever, the crew noticed a useful backing of the wind a while back, and sheets were adjusted accordingly and then cleated home. My word, but we’re racing keenly. And can that clock really be right? If so, it’s time for Nooners...

Published in W M Nixon

With a month to go to the ICRA National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club, the Cruiser Racer body has published a 56–boat entry list to date that reveals a large entry from the host Cork Harbour Club. Royal Cork yachts represent 30% of entries received to date. Dublin Boats represent another 30% but there is likely to be some disappointment that no entries have so far been received from either the Royal St. George YC or National Yacht Clubs. To date, Howth Yacht Club is sending eight boats while the Royal Irish Yacht Club is sending similar.

18 yacht clubs are represented at the 2017 championships.

Neighbouring Kinsale Yacht Club has five entries listed. A single Scottish entry from the Clyde has been received as has a single Welsh entry from Swansea Yacht Club.

Seven boats in the fleet are J24 one designs that will also race for southern class honours, a new departure for the ICRA championships.

ICRA believes only 60% of the entries have been recevied at this stage so with five days before the early bird entry expires, ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney is urging skippers to avail of the discounted rate.

Read the provisional ICRA entry list below: 

BOAT NAME TYPE IRC HANDICAP SAIL NUMBER CLUB
Powder Monkey Sigma 33 0.912 IRL 4206 Tralee
Rioja J80 0.953 GBR 380 Royal Cork
Ellida X332 0.981 IRL 6021 Royal Cork
Raptor Mills 30CR 1.013 IRL 811 Royal Irish
Bandit Mod Bolero 26' 0.881 IRL 2622 Royal Cork
Bonanza Impala 28 0.888 IRL 9515 Royal Cork
Sea Hawk Sigma 33 0.914 IRL 4506 Royal Cork
Jump Juice Ker 37 1.109 IRL 2007 Royal Cork
Rebellion Lambay 60 1.056 IRL 6001 Wicklow SC
Gala Racing J24 0.884 IRL 4384 Foynes SC
Joker 2 J109 1.015 IRL 1206 Royal Irish
Fusion Corby 25 0.934 IRL 2552 Howth YC
Altair First 36.7 1.016 IRL 3670 Cobh / Royal Cork
Bad Company Sunfast 32 0.934 IRL 16859 Royal Cork
Dark Angel Dubois 37 1.096 GBR 8833R Swansea YC
Objection Sun Odyssey 35 0.942 IRL 4004 Kinsale YC
Artful Dodger Elan333 0.952 IRL 1333 Kinsale YC
Alpaca X34 0.995 IRL 35221 Royal Cork
K25 Team Scandal J24 0.886 4212 Howth YC
Checkmate XVII Mod 1/2 Tonner 0.944 IRL 2016 Howth YC
Loch Greine Hanse 31 0.923 IRL 1033 Royal Cork
Surfdancer Elan 333 0.970 IRL 1759 Royal Cork
Stonehaven Racing Corby 25 0.934 GBR 6655 Royal Western YC
Privateer Dufour 365 0.940 IRL 3653 Kinsale YC
Raffles Sadler32 0.865 GBR 6095T Schull HSC
Cartoon 1/4 ton 0.895 IRL 9186 Royal Irish YC
Inis Mor Kert 39 1.118 FRA 35439 CCC Scotland
Bon Exemple XP33 1.009 GBR 8933R Royal Irish YC
Saxon Senator X37 1.035 IRL 1447 Royal Cork YC
Jumpin' Jiv J24 0.886 IRL 3060 Greystones SC
Dux X302 0.927 IRL 988 Howth YC
Jostler J92 0.970 IRL 1078 Kinsale YC
Storm J109 1.016 IRL 1141 Rush/Howth
Relativity Albin Express 0.877 IRL 262 Cobh SC
Harmony 1/2 Tonner 0.946 IRL 1484 Howth YC
Aramis Contessa 33 0.920 IRL 1022 Royal Cork
Jana J24 0.885 397 Sligo YC
Bene Bebe First 210 0.840 GBR 7712T Royal Cork
Stouche J24 0.886 IRL 4215 Foynes SC
Equinox X-332 0.979 IRL 1332 Howth YC
Indulgence Dehler 365 0.996 IRL 2805 Royal Cork
Jade J24 0.887 IRL 4094 NMCISC Maritime College
Slack Alice GK34 0.949 IRL 4170 Waterford HSC
Johnny Bravo J24 0.885 4115 Howth YC
Cri-Cri 1/4 ton 0.912 18709 Royal Irish YC
Rockabill VI JPK 10.80 1.051 IRL 10800 Royal Irish YC
Manzanita 1/4 ton 0.889 IRL 2076 Schull HSC
White Mischief J109 1.010 GBR 1242R Royal Irish YC
Aisling Dufour 365 0.985 IRL 3651 Royal Cork YC
Sweet Dreams Jenneau 36 0.985 IRL 3612 Royal Cork YC
Whistlin Dixie Impala 28 0.876 IRL 9516 Royal Cork YC
Lady T Sun Odyssey 32i 0.932 IRL 2510 Royal Cork YC
Jigamaree J109 1.011 IRL 7991 Royal Irish YC
Meridian Salona 45 1.112 IRL 4076 Kinsale YC
Fools Gold A35 1.022 IRL 3061 Waterford HSC
Maximus X-302 0.930 IRL 7495 Howth YC
Published in ICRA

The ICRA Cruiser National Championships reduced entry fee registration of €150.00 will end this Friday 12th May, just a month before the event sets sail at Royal Cork Yacht Club from 9th – 11th June. The final closing date for entry is the 26th May. Enter online here.

As of today, ICRA estimates over sixty percent of the expected boats have entered the championships.  'Thanks to all the boats that have entered so far as this assists greatly with the planning of the event', ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney told Afloat.ie

The J24 Association of Ireland will be hosting their Southern Championships during the event and the Quarter tonner will in addition to be racing in division but also will be racing for the Quarter Ton Cup.

Published in ICRA

Cove Sailing Club launched its programme for the season with confirmation of joint cruiser racing to be sailed with neighbouring Monkstown Bay SC in an attempt by both clubs to boost cruiser participation in Cork Harbour writes Tom MacSweeney.

Cove SC Commodore Joanna Radley and Monkstown Bay’s Cruiser Class Captain Henry Jefferies said that the development had been discussed for some time and that both clubs would continue to have their own dedicated events, while also combining racing which would be held alternately at Cobh and Monkstown. Both clubs had experienced declining fleet numbers over recent seasons and this was a determined attempt to reverse the trend.

Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Rear Admiral for Keelboats, Kieran O’Connell, who was present welcomed the development and said that the RCYC would look forward to the possibility of joining in next season when all three clubs could strengthen cruiser racing.

CORK HARBOUR JOINT RACINGPROGRAMMECove Sailing Club Commodore Joanna Radley, Monkstown Bay Cruiser Class Capt Henry Jefferies and Cove Sailing Secretary Pat Coakley at the Announcement of the Joint Racing programme

“This is a wonderful harbour, with great opportunities for sailing, of which every opportunity should be taken,” is the approach being taken by the clubs. The joint Cove/MBSC events will concentrate on whitesail, which is the focus of Monkstown Bay SC cruisers. Cove includes spinnakers in its racing events.

The agreed approach, as previously reported by Afloat.ie will start with both clubs joining forces for the first time on Sunday May 21, starting together on the Cove SC line and again the following Saturday, May 27 On Saturday, June 3, the June Bank Holiday Weekend both clubs will race in Monkstown. The clubs will gather together again in Cobh on four Fridays in June – 9, 16, 23 and 30. A race to Kinsale, which will also be a ‘feeder’ for the Sovereign’s Cup there, is planned on Saturday, June 17. For boats not taking part in the Cup series, there will be a race back to Cork Harbour the following day.

KIERAN OCONNELL RCYCKieran O'Connell RCYC Rear Admiral Keelboats – looks forward to the possibility of joining in next season when all three Cork Harbour clubs could strengthen cruiser racing

In July Monkstown will hold its ‘At Home Regatta’ on Saturday, July 8, which SCORA, the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, is expected to support and on Saturdays, July 15, 22, 29, Cove will join MBSC in racing at Monkstown. On Sunday, July 23 racing will be in Cove. On Saturday, September 2, the Ballinacurra Race will start from Cove and finish in East Ferry. Saturday, September 9, is the date scheduled for the annual Cobh-to-Blackrock Race and there are joint MBSC and Cove SC events planned on Saturdays September 16, 23 and 30.

“Hopefully, this inter-club initiative will boost cruiser racing in Cork Harbour,” officers of both clubs said.

At the launch in the Quays bar and restaurant on the Cobh waterfront, Cove Sailing Secretary, Pat Coakley, announced an extensive sailing programme for both the club’s dinghy and cruiser fleets. Saturday sailing will include a dedicated training schedule, outlined by Michelle Gray Mooney.

MAURICE KIDNEY COVE SC LAUNCHMaurice Kidney outlining the Rankin Dinghy Revival at the Cove Sailing Club Launch

Maurice Kidney detailed the revival of the Rankins, the historic dinghy associated with Cove SC. On Saturday, May 20, the Rankins are planning a gathering in Cobh and Crosshaven for Ida Hadley, the sister of boat builders Eric and Dave Rankin, who built these wonderful Cork harbour dinghies from the late 50s to the 80s.

Published in Cork Harbour

The Lymington (UK) based Rating Office, headquarters of the world's most popular rating system IRC, is to be managed by Dr Jason Smithwick. Following on from academia, roles in the research industry and sailing's international federation Smithwick will take up his post at the head of a team of four full-time staff and several external consultants on 3rd July this year.

Established in 1974 the Rating Office has been coordinating the measurement of sailing boats and the issuing of rating certificates for over 43 years. Regarded by many as 'the centre of excellence for yacht measurement' it is one of very few mythical buildings in the world of sailing. The work that has been done inside its four walls over the years, producing ratings and handicaps for sailing boats of all shapes and sizes so as to race equitably over long and short courses, is the foundation piece of a huge multi-billion pound international sport and its associated industry. Over the years the Rating Office staff have been coordinating the measurement and rating of everything from IOR boats in the '70s and 80's, IMS in the early '90s and CHS in the '80s and '90s which evolved into IRC in use today.

In addition to calculating ratings the office is involved in the management, measurement and in some cases, the creation of class rules for fleets such as the Whitbread 60, the current VOR 65, the new Club Swan 50, Swan 45 class, Mumm 30 and Mumm 36 classes, Nautor Swans, Wallys, Maxi 72 and countless other sub-groupings that use the IRC Rule today. The Rating Office is also actively involved in international safety standards for yacht racing and has key roles in RYA and World Sailing working groups and committees.

Dr Jason Smithwick (45) graduated from Southampton University in 1994 continuing in the world of academia for another 10 years gaining his doctorate and eventually ending up as Principal Engineer & Software Manager at the world renowned Wolfson Unit. The next stage in his career was in the role of Technical and Offshore Director at sailing's international federation, known today as World Sailing.

"The role of Director of Rating is something that completely fits my experience and passion. Racing yachts, numbers and the greater racing community is what gets me out of bed in the morning. This is a dream job and I am honoured to follow in a long line of individuals that have handled this foundation piece of the sport of yacht racing and continue the important work that has been done by my predecessors and their colleagues," said Dr. Smithwick.

With rating rule stability in a dynamic technological age owners, clubs, sponsors and the marine industry at large can continue to invest with real confidence in the sport of sailing.

"I'm really pleased to find someone of Jason's experience and technical knowledge to head up the Rating Office in Lymington. The importance of the role played by the Rating Office staff over the years cannot be overstated. By calculating ratings and issuing rating certificates the foundation for equitable racing between disparate boats is established. This in turn enables many thousands of sailing boats to populate regatta and club race courses the world over. Jason's appointment will give IRC especially, and the sport in general, stability and real confidence for the future," said Eddie Warden Owen, RORC Chief Executive and Interim Rating Office Director

Published in RORC

A new arrival into Royal Cork Yacht Club this season is an Olson 30, a vintage American design writes Bob Bateman. Afloat.ie understands it's the only one of its type in Europe and will be new competition at the top of class two in June's ICRA National Championships. The 'lightweight flyer' is skippered by RCYC's Kieran Collins. 

The Olson 30 was designed by George Olson of Santa Cruz, California around 1978. Olson was a surfer and surfboard shaper who decided to design a 30' ultra light displacement boat. 

Approximately 250 boats were built by Pacific Boats and Ericson Yachts. The Olson 30 was introduced into a crowded market of ultralight boats constructed in the Santa Cruz area, including Ron Moore's Moore 24 and Bill Lee's Santa Cruz 27.

Olsen 30The Kieran Collins skippered Olson 30 afloat off Cork with a spinnaker depicting her country of origin Photo Bob Bateman

Published in ICRA

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association has launched two new initiatives aimed at getting more people sailing, and promoting and developing handicap racing.

CREW POINT: ICRA is offering a new website to promote sailing events and for new and/or experienced sailors to engage with boat owners looking for crew. The aim is to promote events and drive potential new members towards clubs, while building a 'cruiser racing crew register'. The scheme is part of an effort to get more people sailing in partnership with 'Try Sailing'.

CRUISER RACING TRAINING GRANT: ICRA are offering grants of up to €1,000 to help clubs set–up and run ICRA approved training or coaching programmes aimed at improving the racing skills amongst cruiser racers.

Published in ICRA

There will be no crew number limitations or crew weight limitations at this year's Irish Cruiser Racer (ICRA) Nationals at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

The rule had been 'under review' following discussion at March's ICRA Conference in Limerick where it was shown different regattas deal with crew weight limits in different ways.

Yesterday, ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney confirmed to Afloat.ie, 'There is no change to point five of the Notice of Race for this year's Championships'.  

Point five says: Crew Limitations IRC Rule 22.4 is deleted. There is no crew number limitations. There is no crew weight limitations.

IRC Rule 22.4 says: “The Crew Number printed on each boat’s certificate shall not be exceeded or the crew weight shall not exceed 85kg multiplied by the Crew Number printed on the certificate.”

The decision brings clarity to a situation six weeks after a healthy debate on the issue at the national conference and six weeks before the championships is set to sail in Cork Harbour

It means competing skippers are now free to invite as many crew as they wish and book accommodation at Crosshaven accordingly.

The focus of conversation at the conference, under guest speaker Mike Urwin of the RORC, was the disposal of crew limits at events such as the ICRA National Championships.

As the rule does not apply at the ICRAs, boats had an option to take less crew on a light wind day and stack the rail in breeze.

Traditionally, fun regattas like Calves Week, did not have crew limits, so that late crew members could be recruited from the quayside and children could also be accommodated as required.

The move to delete the limit rule followed significant consultation with sailors and ICRA surveys found overwhelming support for its withdrawal.

However, the meeting heard that for 'serious regattas', such as a national championships, not having a crew limit can lead to advantages to those who bring a large crew pool to an event, thus upping overall costs of participation.

Some delegates believed championships should stick to the IRC certificate crew limit or maybe the 'cert plus one'. Others thought a stipulation in the Sailing Instructions requiring the same crew numbers in every race would be helpful.

An Afloat.ie reader poll following the conference (running from March 9 to April 25) recorded answers from eight countries, with 45% of respondents from Ireland.

The poll asked: 'Should there be a crew limit at ICRA 2017?' Answer options: No – Let them all race! or Yes – Reinstate IRC Rule 22.4. There was a strong result (73%) for the reinstatement of IRC Rule 22.4.

Results are below: 

crew weight limit

 

Published in ICRA
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