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A Summer of Sailing Ahead

29th June 2017
Irish Sailing President Jack Roy on duty as Race Officer at June's ICRA National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club Irish Sailing President Jack Roy on duty as Race Officer at June's ICRA National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

This summer I’ll be wearing two hats – one as President of Irish Sailing, and the other as a Race Official at several events, and a very busy summer it is proving to be writes Jack Roy

It’s been a cracking season already producing much skill and exciting racing. The weather during May and early June had adverse effects, but despite some difficult conditions, both the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle and the ICRA National Championships at the RCYC produced great racing as well as a bit of that all important fun!

Last week Kinsale YC hosted the O’Leary Life Sovereign’s Cup where over 90 boats were treated to champagne sailing. Despite losing one day to the Irish summer, warm days, sunshine and sea breezes gave us three wonderful days of racing, at this most popular venue. Another exciting event came at the weekend with the inaugural Watersports Inclusion Games, which took place in Dun Laoghaire with over 80 volunteers providing activities for over 220 participants with various abilities on the physical, sensory, intellectual and learning difficulty spectrums and representing all ages, demographics and socio-economic backgrounds. The participants and their families had a chance to try sailing, rowing and canoeing, and it was a fantastic event showing how sailing really is a sport for all and a sport for life.

Still to come; this Friday (30th June) sees the start of Cork Dinghy Fest at the RCYC where over 100 dinghies will be in competition. Also taking place this weekend is the Marine Institute’s Seafest, the massive Galway port celebration of all our marine activities where Irish Sailing are providing water-based Try Sailing activities.

Heading even further west to the Aran Islands, where the WIORA West Coast Championships running from July 5th-8th, is being hosted by Seoltóireacht Árann, which we are happy to welcome as a Category 1 Irish Sailing Affiliated Club. Almost running concurrently from July 6th – 9th is the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, another big-ticket fixture in the calendar with 452 boats registered, 2,500 sailors expected and 35 classes represented. This is one of Ireland’s biggest sporting events in terms of numbers of competitors, and one that the whole of the Dun Laoghaire waterfront and town gets involved in.

July also sees a plethora of Class Nationals and Championships around the country, including the Optimists, National 18s, Mirrors, Toppers, RS, SB20s, Puppeteer, Howth 17s, Squibs, Mermaids, J24s, GP14s, 1720s, Flying Fifteens, Fireball, and the IMA Multihulls. And a parade of sail on July 23rd will mark the opening of Glandore Harbour Yacht Club’s week long Classic Regatta.

The Half-Ton Classics Cup taking place in August will attract 20 + boats, many from the Solent but with plenty of Irish interest too. Last year this event was held in Falmouth Yacht Club and this year it’s the turn of Kinsale YC to host these classic 1980s design, now beautifully refurbished boats. Also in August, some might say “the highlight of the summer” is Calves Week. Once again the relatively small Schull Harbour SC, with its large number of volunteers, will run this ever popular, fun based race week.

Apart from the support of the competitors, the common thread running through this calendar of fixtures is the ever-present volunteer base, without whom none of these events would take place. A sincere thank you to all and I wish everyone involved an enjoyable and safe summer on the water.

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