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The Spirit of James Bond Will Sail On In Dublin Bay

7th June 2014
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soufriere
Where's 007 then? This is something completely different. Stephen O'Flaherty's classically-styled Spirit 54 Soufriere is a very sporting entry among ICRA's racier boats. But then, as a former star in a James Bond movie, she's game for anything. Photo: W M Nixon
The Spirit of James Bond Will Sail On In Dublin Bay

#cruiserracing – The three day ICRA Nationals begin next Friday (June 13th) at the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire. The entry of one hundred and eleven boats from all parts of Ireland will inevitably see the numbers emphasis on the large home fleet, but W M Nixon reckons this will make the visiting rock stars try even harder.

The Spirit 54 Soufriere would attract admiring attention in any fleet. And under Stephen O'Flaherty's enthusiastic ownership, she has frequently made the scene - often with racing success – in classic yacht events. Nevertheless, to take this long and shapely beauty into the cut and thrust of Ireland's top national cruiser-racer championship is a truly sporting gesture. But as a star in a James Bond movie, Soufriere is accustomed to mixing the rough with the smooth.

It was in Casino Royale (2006) that Soufriere made her debut on the Tinseltown stage, sailing serenely into Venice with Daniel Craig as 007 taking the helm from co-star Eva Green. But it's far from the sheltered waters of the Serenissima that Soufriere will be competing in six day's time, yet her crew and the hundreds of other sailors who are shaping up for the ICRA Nationals 2014 on Dublin Bay will be hoping for a happy mix of good weather and decent sailing breezes to put away some high quality sport.

With six days to go, forecasters are reluctant to firm up their opinions on the expected state of the fickle Irish weather, particularly as it operates in the peculiar climatic laboratory which is Dublin Bay. But the folk who put their faith in anticipated Polar Jetstream movements are encouraged by fairly clearcut suggestions that this indicator and activator of our meteorology may finally be moving northwards towards its proper summer position by next weekend. But whether or not it does so in time to significantly benefit the ICRA Nationals is currently a moot point.

Whatever, the most recent charts we've seen have been showing a marked tendency towards southwest to northwest winds six days hence. You might well think that would provide a steady breeze coming down the Liffey Valley and out across the bay for splendid sailing on relatively smooth water. But as dear old Dublin town heats up with the summer temperatures building towards Bloomsday on June 16th, all sorts of quirks can be introduced into the weather, with afternoon sea breezes with varying touches of east in them playing havoc across the underlying gradient.

As for the Jetstream, the least we can hope for is that it won't be lying across Ireland. Ideally, its underlying path will be swirling away northwards. But if it has settled down unseasonably far south to make life disagreeable in northwest Spain or even across France, then we might just get lucky, as Scotland was in 2012, when they'd superb weather while Ireland had an unpleasant summer with the Jetstream like a nasty girdle across Munster.

Either way, we can do nothing about it. But as last summer's late-forecast arrival of good weather in time for the four day Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta showed, "Here Comes Summer!" is sailing's greatest recruiting slogan. Fleet numbers soared in a last minute rush, and boats which had spent the early part of the season with a shortage of hands found themselves almost embarassed by the arrival on board of willing crewpersons seeking any escape from the heat of the city.

ICRA boats being an altogether more serious proposition than casual local classes, it's likely that the total is pretty well fixed at this stage. But for those who batter around the high seas in weather good and bad from season's start in April, they surely deserve a reward in good sailing after a mix of 2014 weather which, so far, could most kindly be described as "interesting".

The ICRA Nationals 2014 are being hosted by the Royal Irish YC from their wellnigh perfect location within Dun Laoghaire marina, where their fine neo-classical building of 1851 vintage (it's the world's oldest complete purpose-designed yacht club premises) is conveniently positioned beside totally sheltered modern waterfront facilities, yet within easy reach of the open sailing waters of Dublin Bay.

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The Royal Irish YC's prime location and historic clubhouse within Dun Laoghaire Marina's sheltered water provides a perfect location for hosting major keelboat events. Photo: W M Nixon

The club in turn have brought in sponsorship for the ICRA Nats from Teng Tools, a company whose management have been long involved in offshore racing success, with Alan Crosbie of TT sailing in this event aboard the vintage Mills-designed Quarter Tonner Quest, a boat of contemporary relevance whose history includes association with such luminaries of Irish sailing as Marcus Hutchinson and Gordon Maguire.

Thanks to Dublin Bay's time-honoured tradition of enthusiastically racing boats which in most other sailing areas would be seen only as cruisers, the entry list includes the usual mix of modern performance craft from builders such as X Yachts of Denmark, J Boats of America, Elan of Slovenia, Beneteau and Jeanneau of France, and Hanse and Bavaria of Germany, and they'll be lining up with venerable cruisers such as the vintage Nich 31 Saki and others such as Soufriere for whom success is a bonus to be treasured in the simple pleasure of sailing a comfortable much-loved boat.

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The Nich 31 Saki is regularly raced in Dublin Bay, and for the ICRA Nationals she'll be competing in Class 4 against the likes of First 211s and a Hunter Sonata. Photo: David O'Brien

For those who are looking for razor-sharp virtually boat-for-boat racing, Class 1 is surely the place to be, where the active fleet of Dublin Bay J/109s, rating around the 1.015 to 1.017 mark, find themselves head to head with last year's ICRA Nats star performer, Philip Byrne's XP 33 Bon Exemple from the host club, whose helming lineup includes current Irish Champion Ben Duncan.

However, inter-area rivalry is a great spur to success, and the pride of Fingal, Pat Kelly's J/109 Storm from Rush SC, has several years of ICRA success under her belt, including the Boat of the Year title. Another 'out of Bay' challenger in the J/109s is Ian Nagle's Jelly Baby from the Royal Cork, so it will be wall-to-wall J/109s in Division 1, a formidable prospect for one of the smallest boat in the class, Denis Hewitt and partners' Mills 30CR Raptor, whose personnel includes top ICRA mover and shaker Fintan Cairns.

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The J/109 has proven an ideal size for Dublin Bay and Irish Sea racing. Photo: David O'Brien

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Father and son team of Neil and George Kenefick from Crosshaven will be campaigning their Quarter Tonner Tiger as Nathan Kirwan Trust during the ICRA Nats. Photo: Bob Bateman

The Dun Laoghaire emphasis in the fleet is an added peformance incentive for any visitors, and great things are expected in Division 3 from the Kenefick family's hot Quarter Tonner Tiger from Cork, which races this series as Nathan Kirwan Trust with former champion helm George Kenefick on the helm. Another visitor which has been making waves in the Irish Sea this year is the Shannon Estuary-based Dehler 34 Big Deal (Derek Dillon, Foynes YC), which has been scoring success in ISORA racing as part of the buildup to participation in the Round Ireland Race in three weeks time. The Dehler 34 has been around since 1980 or so, but this well-engineered cruiser-racer has deservedly proven an enduring success in Irish waters.

Further down the size scale, there's an impressive turnout of Corby 25s racing against Big Deal in Division 2 where winning will be an impressive notch in the bedpost as the lineup includes Anthony Gore-Grimes' regularly successful X 302 Dux from Howth, while Division 3 sees the continuing friendly (well, fairly friendly) war between vintage Quarter Tonners and J/24s such as Flor O'Driscoll's Hard on Port.

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Anthony Gore-Grimes' X 302 Dux has been a regular and successful participant in ICRA events for many years. Photo: Bob Bateman

As for the Corinthians sailing non-spinnaker in Divisions 5 & 6, Eastsiders are pinning their hopes on the two extra-keen Howth boats. David Sargent's Elan 33 Indulgence, and the veteran Club Shamrock Demelza aboard which Windsor Laudan and Steffi Ennis have turned white-sail racing into an art, and a very successful one at that.

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Transparency is all. George Sisk and his seasoned crew aboard the Farr 42 WOW will be racing with the second-highest rating in the fleet. Photo: W M Nixon

Up among the biggies in Division 0, Soufriere at 54ft is longest of all, and the highest rated at 1.135, but close astern is George Sisk's Farr 42 WOW, which rates 1.124. This provides a challenge for her senior crew, though we're assured that WOW doesn't stand for "We Ould Wans". Quite. There's a good outside challenge here with Denise Phelan's potent Mills 36 Jump Juice from Cork, the XP38i Roxstar (Findlay & Anderson) from the Clyde, the Corby 40 Converting Machine (Dave Cummaford) from Pwllheli, the pride of Arklow which is the Tyrell family's J/122 Aquelina, ICRA Commodore Nobby Reilly's Mills 36 Crazy Horse from Howth, and Lynx, Martin Breen's Reflex 38 which sails thousands of sea miles, many of them with racing success, for the honour of Galway Bay SC.

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The Tyrrell family's J/122 Aquelina from Artklow is an active contender throughout the season. Photo: W M Nixon

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The main man. Nobby Reilly of Howth, Commodore of ICRA, at the helm of his Mills 36 Crazy Horse. Photo: Bob Bateman

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Martin Breen's Reflex 38 Lynx from Galway, seen here racing round Ireland, will be hoping to add ICRA success to her established offshore achievements.

Thus the lineup is what you'd expect of a sailing community emerging from several years of economic recession. There are few if any brand new boats, only a small group are travelling any significant distance to take part, and within the local fleet, as with the visitors, there's a marked emphasis on well-loved boats which have been with their owners for quite some time, but are continuing to give excellent value and great sport for the day that's in it.

And finally, if you don't believe a word about Soufriere being in a James Bond movie, here's the clip from Casino Royale. Soufriere was already being built when the request for her use in the film came through. But who could decline such a thing? It's even better than having a genuine Beken photograph of your boat.

Once upon a time, back in 1990, I sailed into Venice and motored right up the crowded Grand Canal as far as the Rialto Bridge with the late great Brian Hegarty on the Hallberg Rassy 42 ketch Safari of Howth. We'd a better time of it than poor old James Bond. We didn't have to waste time with the distraction of writing resignation letters on the laptop. For we were on our holliers, and believe me, arriving in Venice in the morning sunshine on a fine cruising yacht merits your full attention. It is one of life's great and magical experiences.

Meanwhile, back in Dublin Bay, first gun in ICRA Nats 2014 is at 1055hrs Friday June 13th, racing continues through Sunday May 15th, right hand side of the boat continues to be starboard, and the wind being on it usually confers right of way.

ICRA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2014, 13th to 15th June 2014 ENTRIES (AS AT 6/6/14)

Division Sail No Boat Type of Boat Club IRC
0 IRL9852 Crazy Horse Mills 36 HYC 1.084
0 IRL5718 Loose Change IMX 40 RIYC 1.073
0 IRL1974 Soufriere Spirit RIYC 1.135
0 IRL4208 WOW Farr 42 RIYC 1.124
0 IRL1644 Lively Lady First 44.7 RIYC 1.107
0 IRL2007 Jump Juice Ker 37 RCYC 1.103
0 GBR6940R Converting Machine Corby 40 Pwllheli SC 1.095
0 IRL1281 Aquelina J-122 Arklow SC 1.083
0 GBR4041R First Forty licks First 40 East Down YC 1.080
0 GBR8038R Roxstar XP 38i Clyde CC 1.077
0 IRL4007 Tsunami First 40.7 NYC 1.055
0 IRL7386 Lynx Reflex 38 GBSC 1.051
-
1 EI1906 ZURI Hanse 37 Carlingford SC #N/A
1 IRL3511 Adventure A35 GSC #N/A
1 IRL638 State O’ Chassis Sigma 38 RIYC #N/A
1 IRL3307 Rockabill V Corby 33 RIYC 1.041
1 IRL3709 Axiom X 37 RIYC 1.035
1 IRL3061 Fools Gold A35 WHSC 1.028
1 IRL9609 Jelly Baby J109 RCYC 1.027
1 IRL28898 Powder Monkey J109 NYC 1.025
1 IRL7778 Gringo A 35 NYC 1.024
1 IRL811 Raptor Mills 30CR RIYC 1.020
1 IRL1141 Storm J109 HYC/Rush SC 1.017
1 IRL8088 Jedi J109 RIYC 1.017
1 IRL1206 Joker II J109 RIYC 1.017
1 GBR8933R Bon Exemple XP 33 RIYC 1.016
1 IRL1383 Ruth J109 NYC 1.015
1 GBR9047R Mojito J109 Pwllheli SC 1.015
1 IRL1129 Jump The Gun J109 RIYC 1.014
1 IRL9898 Indecision J109 RIYC 1.013
1 IRL29213 Something Else J109 NYC 1.013
1 IRL7991 Jigamaree J109 RIYC 1.011
1 GBR8609R Jetstream J109 NYC 1.009
1 GBR2620L Fox in Sox X 34 RIYC 1.003
1 IRL3471 Black Velvet First 34.7 RIYC 1.001
1 IRL1367 Boomerang First 36.7 RStGYC 1.000
1 IRL3470 Flashback First 34.7 HYC 0.989
-
2 IRL1310 After You Too Beneteau 31.7 RStGYC #N/A
2 IRL3438 Albireo Swan 371 RIYC #N/A
2 IRL7317 Attitude First 31.7 RIYC #N/A
2 GBR8747T Movistar Bleu Elan 333 Killyleagh YC 0.967
2 IRL7284 Red Rhum Dehler DB1 RStGYC 0.967
2 IRL8750 Jester J 80 NYC 0.957
2 IRL1188 Utopia X 3/4 Ton DL Marina 0.956
2 IRL8094 King One Half Tonner HYC 0.953
2 IRL6909 Extreme Reality Beneteau 31.7 RIYC 0.952
2 FRA079 Graduate J 80 RIYC 0.952
2 IRL993 Prima Nocte Beneteau 31.7 RIYC 0.950
2 IRL4170 SLACK ALICE GK Westerly 34 WHSC 0.949
2 GBR66R Checkmate XV Humphreys Half Tonner RStGYC 0.943
2 IRL5522 The Big Picture Mg30 HYC 0.942
2 IRL8223 Kamikaze Sunfast 32 RStGYC 0.941
2 IRL2552 Fusion Corby 25 HYC 0.935
2 IRL2506 Alpaca3 Corby 25 RCYC 0.931
2 IRL2507 Impetuous Corby 25 HYC 0.930
2 IRL3492 Big Deal Dehler 34 Foynes YC 0.929
2 IRL2525 Tribal Corby 25 GBSC 0.929
2 IRL25007 Smile Corby 25 GBSC 0.929
2 IRL988 DUX X-302 HYC 0.929
2 IRL7495 Maximus X-302 HYC/WHSC 0.925
2 IRL521 Bendemeer Beneteau First 325 RStGYC 0.925
2 IRL1103 Solgari Viking X-302 HYC 0.923
-
3 GBR8148 Squawk Sigma 33 ood BYC/RUYC #N/A
3 I8709 Cri-Cri Quarter Tonner RIYC #N/A
3 ITA10767 Don Giovanni Ceccarelli HYC #N/A
3 IRL9311 Borraine Aphrodite 101 RIYC #N/A
3 IRL4384 Django J24 Lough Ree YC #N/A
3 IRL5795 Black Sheep Mustang 30 NYC 0.919
3 GBR5507T Peridot Mustang 30 RIYC 0.916
3 IRL4464 Springer Sigma 33 ood RStGYC 0.912
3 IRL4536 Elandra Sigma 33 DL Marina 0.912
3 IRL4633 White Mischief Sigma 33 ood RIYC 0.911
3 IRL34218 Lady Rowena Sadler 34 RStGYC 0.911
3 IRL999999 Nathan Kirwan Trust 1/4 ton RCYC 0.907
3 IRL508 Quest 1/4 ton RIYC 0.905
3 FRA9186 Cartoon Quarter Tonner RIYC 0.902
3 IRL8188 Alliance II Laser 28 HYC 0.896
3 IRL4533 Crazy Horse J24 Sligo SC 0.887
3 IRL680 Euro Car Parks Kilcullen J24 HYC 0.887
3 IRL4794 Hard on Port J24 RStGYC 0.887
3 IRL9508 Huggy Bear Impala 28ood NYC 0.884
3 IRL728 Maximus J24 Foynes YC 0.884
3 IRL851 Taiscealai Club Shamrock RIYC 0.876
3 IRL7500 Supernova Quarter Tonner RIYC 0.870
-
4 IRL1208 Capilano Beneteau First 211 RIYC #N/A
4 IRL2121 Chinook Beneteau First 211 RIYC #N/A
4 IRL2111 Syzrgy Beneteau First 211 RStGYC #N/A
4 307 Wynward Beneteau First RIYC #N/A
4 IRL246 Saki Nicholson 31 RIYC #N/A
4 IRL6556 Challenger Challenger Europe HYC #N/A
4 IRL1689 Chouskikou First 28 DL Marina 0.870
4 8245N Asterix Hunter Sonata DL Marina 0.823
-
Non-spinnaker Corinthian Cup
5 IRL37747 Windshift Sunfast 37 RStGYC #N/A
5 IRL607 Effex II First 35 RIYC #N/A
5 IRL532 Orna Grand Soleil 40 NYC 1.021
5 IRL3506 Just Jasmin Bavaria Match 35 RIYC/DMYC 0.995
5 IRL8478 Warrior Beneteau 34.7 ISA-DBSC 0.984
5 IRL1357 Humdinger Sunfast 37 Carlingford SC 0.972
5 IRL3339 Indulgence Elan 333 HYC 0.958
5 IRL1333 White Lotus Elan 333 DL Marina 0.957
5 IRL3400 Brazen Hussy Dufour 34 HYC 0.950
5 IRL5687 To Infinity and Beyond Dehler 37 CR RStGYC 0.949
-
6 IRL1217 The Great Escape Bavaria 33 RIYC #N/A
6 IRL1309 Syledis in blue Beneteau oceanis clipper 323 LK Bray SC #N/A
6 IRL5013 Sweet Martini She 31 RStGYC #N/A
6 IRL966 More Mischief Beneteau First 310 DL Marina #N/A
6 IRL2860 Pure Magic Feeling 286 Special Bray SC #N/A
6 IRL1166 Edenpark Jeanneau Sun Odyssey RIYC 0.977
6 IRL5643 Calypso Beneteau Oceanis 361 RStGYC 0.928
6 IRL1502 Vespucci Dehler 31 RIYC 0.876
6 IRL100 Demelza Club Shamrock HYC 0.875

A PDF version of this entry list (with owners names) is available to download below

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About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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