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The Shanahan Cup is set to return in an enlarged format for the 2024/25 winter season. The event, organised by Gonzaga College and the INSS and sponsored by the Shanahan family, is a team racing series open to all schools in the Dublin area.

Last year, twelve schools participated in three one-day events. For the coming season, the series has been expanded to four one-day events, with an earlier start date soon after the commencement of the school year. This will hopefully ensure that the competitors sail in warmer weather and avoid, as far as possible, the frigid days of early spring.

“The Shanahan Cup is all about friendly inclusive competition” said Fiachra Etchingham of Gonzaga College. “Students of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate. The winners will inevitably be great sailors who have developed their skills through training, but we encourage less skilled students not to be put off by the level of competition. We are very flexible on the makeup of teams, allowing schools to combine and change crews to maximise participation. Irrespective of the result, the aim is that all participants represent their schools to the best of their ability, have fun and make friends”.

The organisers try and work with the schools’ calendar to minimise conflict with other sports or academic events and so the precise dates will not be set until later in the year. However, it is intended to hold the first event in September and to complete much of the competition before Christmas.

“Gonzaga College is very grateful for the involvement of the INSS in this event” said Etchingham. “The highly professional staff ensure that each event runs smoothly and efficiently and so facilitates the growth of schools’ team racing”.

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Elmside Neighbours lead the 'George Invitational' Team Racing Championship after a colourful ten rounds sailed at Dun Laoghaire Harbour this afternoon.

Set against the backdrop of the home of Team Racing in Dun Laoghaire, the Royal St George Yacht Club has organised two days of Swiss League team racing aboard Fireflies dinghies followed by knockout sailing on Sunday.

Both Elmside Neighbours and second placed team, Family Fireflies, won eight races in the blustery south-easterlies, with Curious George winning seven in third place from the 22-boat team turnout.

As Afloat reported previously, a resurgence in demand for top-grade team racing events has resulted in the revival of the renowned George Invitational. The event maintained over twenty years of continuity in the sport in Dun Laoghaire in the 1970s, 1980s, and 90s until the club ran the second World Team Racing Championships in 1999. It continued into the mid-2010s; now, it has made its triumphant return.

Interim results below

Published in Team Racing

Saturday 4th of May 2024 saw 14 schools taking to the water to compete in the Irish Schools Team Racing National Championships 2024. For the first time since the inception of this event in 2004 and marking its 20th anniversary, there were teams from all four Provinces of Ireland.

Eight new schools that had not previously participated in the event competed this year, which is clear evidence that the appetite for School Team Racing is growing across Ireland.

"I.S.T.R.A. is delighted with this development, and hopefully, there will be more schools represented from Connacht and Ulster going forward", said I.S.T.R.A's Eunice Kennedy.

Bantry Bay Sailing Club hosted the Schools Team Racing Championships for the first timeBantry Bay Sailing Club hosted the Schools Team Racing Championships for the first time

On picturesque Bantry Bay, the Bantry Bay Sailing Club (B.B.S.C.) hosted this event for the first time.

Saturday heralded a dry, sunny morning, but unfortunately, with little wind, the A.P. was hoisted until 13.30 approx, when the wind filled in from the S.W. with a wind speed of 8 knots. Race Officer Ciaran McSweeney, with his crew of volunteers and with a sigh of relief, began to crank out the races. By the end of day 18.00, he had completed 36 races, which was an average of 10 races per hour, no mean feat. At the end of racing the competitors retired to their accommodation to get dolled up for a buffet organised by B.B.S.C. The event was hosted in the Marino Church and superb food was supplied by the Fish Kitchen.

Sunday morning dawned cloudy but with a nice brisk flickering N.E 10 knots of wind. Ciaran once again prevailed and sailing commenced at 10.20 approx. The competitors, full of eagerness and high spirits, once again took to the water. 30 races were required to complete the Round Robin in the shifting breeze, and this was achieved by 15.00.

Eight new schools participated in the Irish Schools Team Racing National Championships 2024Eight new schools participated in the Irish Schools Team Racing National Championships 2024

As the wind strength was beginning to show signs of dropping, it was decided that the semis and finals would comprise the best of 3 and the petite final would be 1 race. The top 4 in the semis were Schull Community School 1 V Andrews 1 and Schull Community School 2 V Skibbereen 1.

Schull 1 prevailed in their semis match 2 - 1 and went on to compete against Skibbereen Community School in the finals who took Schull 2 by 2-1. As the wind was now at 4 knots, a good start sequence was imperative. Schull Community School 1 rose to the occasion and beat Skibbereen 1 by winning the first two races out of three to make them the Irish Schools Team Racing Champions for 2024. Skibbereen Community School 1 placed second, and in the petite final Schull Community School 2 beat St. Andrews 2-1 placing 3rd and St. Andrews 1 in fourth.

The overall placings were as follows:

  • 1st Schull Community School 1
  • 2nd Skibbereen Community School
  • 3rd Schull Community School 2
  • 4th St. Andrews College
  • 5th Bandon Grammar School
  • 6th Clongowes/Colaise Iosa/St. David's Holy Faith/High School
  • 7th Schoil Mhuire
  • 8th Colaiste Phobhail Bheanntarai
  • 9th St. Andrews 2
  • 10th Colaiste Eide
  • 11th St. Francis R.O.C.O
  • 12th Loreto/Milford

"I.S.T.R.A. congratulates Bantry Bay Sailing Club on running an exemplary Team Racing event, particularly as they are newcomers to this format of racing," said Kennedy.

"The eagerness and happy faces of the volunteers who turned out to assist in running the event were heartwarming. Feedback from Parents, School Teachers, and competitors was that Bantry Bay was a superb venue for team racing", Kennedy added.

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On Sunday 21st April, the Royal Saint George Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour hosted the Irish Schools Team Racing Association (ISTRA) Leinster Championships.

The event saw 16 teams from 12 schools around Leinster compete in a Team Racing event, which is quite different from a fleet racing event. Competitors do not need to bring their own boats, but instead swap out of different boats throughout the day. Each team consists of three boats with a helm and crew per boat, so 6 people on a team.

The race report of the event indicated that the weather conditions were perfect for team racing, with the teams able to demonstrate their sailing tactics, mark traps, boat handling, and working as a team. The format for the event was a Swiss League leading to knockout stages, with the top four teams consisting of Mount Anville, St Conleth’s, St Andrew’s 1, and Wild Card. 

After four rounds, the top four were consistent performers with Mount Anville and St Conleth’s on 4 wins from 4 races and St Andrew’s 1 and St Michael’s 1 on three wins from four races. Blackrock was unfortunate to be in 5th place with two wins from two, having been beaten in earlier rounds by Mount Anville and St Conleth’s. Holy Child Killiney had a strong showing early on but suffered defeats from St Andrew’s 1 and Blackrock.

In the first semi-final, St Conleth’s faced St Michael’s 1, and two thrilling races saw St Michael’s qualify for the final. St Andrew’s 1 squared up against Mount Anville for the second semi-final and went ahead 1-0 after the first race. The second race was as close as they come with the race been decided on the 5th and 6th place position. It was so close even the competitors weren’t sure of the result until the finish boat confirmed St Andrew’s 1 as the winner and the second qualifier for the final.

For the first race of the final, St Michael’s 1 took a close win to go ahead 1-0. St Andrew’s 1 dug deep from their experience and managed to win the second final race, leaving a do-or-die final race to decide the Leinster Champion. Both teams displayed fantastic tactics, sailing ability, and superb boat handling ability, with St Andrew’s 1 emerging as victors and being confirmed as Leinster Team Racing Champions 2024.

The National Schools Team Racing Championships will take place in Bantry Sailing Club over the weekend of 4th and 5th May, with a total of 20 teams qualifying from around the country.

Leinster has an allocation of 8 teams to qualify, and the Leinster Championship is the deciding ranking for teams. Therefore, the following teams have qualified to enter the Irish Schools Team Racing Championships:

Leinster Schools Team Racing Championships Results 2024:

  1. St Andrew’s 1
  2. St Michael’s 1
  3. Mount Anville
  4. St Conleth’s
  5. Blackrock
  6. St Andrew’s 4
  7. Holy Child Killiney
  8. Wild Card

The RStGYC is known as a premier club for hosting high-quality team racing events, and the next major team racing event to be hosted will be the George Invitational on the weekend of the 25th and 26th May.

Details of entry (including for youth teams) can be obtained by contacting the RSGYC. Further details can be seen here. Other team racing in May is the Cannonball trophy, a team racing event for Dragons held on the 18th and 19th May.

The largest youth sailing event and largest team racing event in Ireland is the Elmo trophy, which will take place in August.

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On Sunday, March 23rd, Bantry Bay Sailing Club launched the Irish Sailing fleet of Fireflies at 9:10 a.m. They had collected the boats from Malahide and Cork for the Munster Provincial Schools Team Racing Event. It was a drizzly morning with a light southerly wind. The race officer, Tim McCarthy, managed to lay a course for racing to commence at 10:53 a.m. when the wind settled at five knots.

Only four races were completed before the wind died until 1:00 p.m. The sixth race started in a light northerly breeze.

Bantry Bay Sailing Club launches the Irish Sailing fleet of Fireflies for theMunster Provincial Schools Team Racing Championships 2024Bantry Bay Sailing Club launches the Irish Sailing fleet of Fireflies for the Munster Provincial Schools Team Racing Championships 2024

After four more races, the wind died again, but it slowly filled in from the west. The 10th race started at 2:49 pm in a strengthening westerly and held until 5:00 pm. Over 40 races were completed throughout the day. The Umpires, Dave Sheahan, Chief Umpire and Eunice Kennedy, were kept busy throughout the day with plenty of whistle-blowing as the racing was very tight amongst the top six teams.

Light winds for the Munster Provincial Schools Team Racing Championships 2024 on Bantry BayLight winds for the Munster Provincial Schools Team Racing Championships 2024 on Bantry Bay

By the end of the day, 80% of the Round Robin was completed to have a result. The teams were split into two groups to achieve an 80% score, resulting in a number of tie-breaks between the first six placed teams. These were decided by a do-or-die race to determine the first five placed teams. The first race was between Schull 1 and Schull 2, tied on 100% race wins. The second race was Skibbereen 2 and Colaiste Mhuire 1, tied on 75%. The third race was Bandon 2 and St. Francis (ROCO), tied on 67%.

The final results were:

  1. Schull 1
  2. Schull 2
  3. Skibbereen 2
  4. Colaiste Mhuire 1
  5. Bandon 2
  6. St. Francis (ROCO)
  7. Christian Brothers Cork
  8. Skibbereen 1 & Colaiste Mhuire 2
  9. Colaiste Phobail Bhaeanntrai, Scoile Muire Cork, Schull 3, and Bandon 1, all tied on the same % wins.

Colaiste Phobail Bheanntrai, who, with one day's training, competed  Munster Schools Team Racing Event Trophy at Bantry BayColaiste Phobail Bheanntrai, who, with one day's training, competed  Munster Schools Team Racing Event Trophy at Bantry Bay

The first five placed teams go forward to the Irish Schools Team Racing Association (I.S.T.R.A) National Championships in May.

This was the first occasion that Bantry Bay Sailing Club hosted a Team Racing Event. They put on a magnificent regatta. Although it was a drizzly day and there were some delays in racing, this did not temper the mood of the competitors. They were in high spirits and enjoyed the event. They were also very complimentary of Bantry Bay Sailing Club.

Kathryn Kingston had put together a fantastic group of volunteers, and nothing was an issue for them. It was a great location for the event, from their club to the sailing area. The club was supported by volunteers from Glandore Harbour Sailing Club and F.O.M.E.C. They are planning team racing clinics and other sailing events going forward. Although Bantry has not got a Team Racing programme yet, the local school, Colaiste Phobail Bhaeanntrai, put together a team for the event. They will be more involved in Schools Team Racing in the future.

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A resurgence in demand for top-grade team racing events has resulted in the revival of the renowned George Invitational. The event maintained over twenty years of continuity in the sport in Dun Laoghaire in the
70's, 80's & 90's until the club ran the second World Team Racing Championships in 1999. It continued into the mid-2010's; now, it has made its triumphant return. In times past the Invitational welcomed the top team racers from the UK, Ireland & the US to Dun Laoghaire to compete for the George Invitational Trophy.

Set against the backdrop of the home of Team Racing in Dun Laoghaire, the George is organising two days of Swiss League team racing aboard Fireflies dinghies followed by knockout sailing on May the 25th and 26th. The event is a celebration of the clubs long & successful history as the cradle of Irish team racing and the birthplace of the sport almost eight decades ago. In addition to the thrilling racing, team racers, both past and present, will have the chance to connect and immerse themselves in the excitement of the event. Moreover, all sailors, race officials, and volunteers are invited to join in the Saturday night dinner at The George dining room.

Teams are encouraged to enter now to avail of the early bird offer that expires on the 31st of March. The event website can be found here

The Royal S George YC in Dun Laoghaire may have been founded in 1838, but its involvement in front-line Team Racing is right up to date in 2024The Royal S George YC in Dun Laoghaire may have been founded in 1838, but its involvement in front-line Team Racing is right up to date in 2024

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In response to a surge in the popularity of team racing in Ireland over recent years, the Irish Team Racing Association (ITRA) has announced a packed 2024 calendar aimed at further growing the sport across the country.

The announcement followed the election of a new ITRA committee at an AGM held in late 2023. 

The ITRA Committee intends to bring adults of all ages and abilities into team racing over the coming years through an array of events running between April and October. While team racing has been immensely popular amongst young adult sailors across the country for a long time, the association is hopeful that a full calendar will allow for continuity and growth in the community after university and beyond.

In addition to this, the ITRA is also aiming to grow women's participation in helming and in the sport in general. A "Take the Helm" event is set to take place this April 13th and 14th in Malahide, with a second event provisionally scheduled for September. Currently, training sessions are being organised in the south, east and west of the country to help get more women helming ahead of the event.

The packed calendar is also set to include a mixed pairs event, a 2K Keelboat event before concluding with the ITRA Nationals in Baltimore in October, which will be held over three days for the first time. 

Many in the sailing community are excited about the ITRA's plans for growth and development of team racing in Ireland. With the already established Irish University Sailing Association (IUSA) and Irish Schools Team Racing Association (ISTRA), the ITRA's efforts are expected to bring even more attention and growth to the sport in the country.

THE IRISH TEAM RACING ASSOCIATION CALENDAR 2024

  • Take the Helm, Malahide Sailing Club, April 13th & 14th
  • Royal St George Invitational, RStGYC, May 25th & 26th
  • Mixed Pairs Team Racing Event, Galway, June 22nd & 23rd
  • Take the Helm 2, Venue TBC, September 21st & 22nd (Provisional)
  • 2K Keelboat Team Racing, Dun Laoighaire, September 28th & 29th
  • ITRA National Championships, Baltimore, October 18th-20th
Published in Team Racing
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The Irish Team Racing Association’s 75th National Championships concluded Saturday in the Royal St George Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The round-robin event was truncated to a day’s racing as the forecast showed winds gusting to 30 knots Sunday morning.

Eighteen teams competed in the event, and after sixty races in two round-robin leagues, the top four teams progressed to a semifinal knockout.

Tight racing at the ITRA 75th Anniversary team racing at Dun Laoghaire HarbourTight racing at the ITRA 75th Anniversary team racing at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Baltimore, comprising UCC alumni, was the top team in League A, with Georges Street clear second. George Jesters, the UCD alumni team, topped League B but with Lunsters edging Bunkers on % wins.

The league toppers progressed from the semis to the final, although Lunsters took a race off Baltimore, having suffered a capsize in the first race.

The best of three finals started in the fading light of dusk with a brisk breeze with intermittent strong squalls.

Control off the startline was to be critical. Baltimore emerged into a winning combination to take the first race. Jesters struck back to even the score and forced a decider in failing light.

An ITRA Finals race at dusk in Dun Laoghaire HarbourAn ITRA Finals race at dusk in Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Jesters controlled well off the start line in the final race and sailed into a one-two combination which they didn’t yield, taking the 75th anniversary event and adding it to their BUSA crown.

ITRA Silver Medalists Baltimore Sailing Club= Johnny Durcan, Fionn Lyden & Mark Hassett. Crews: Trudy O'Hare, Rosa Lyden & Adam HylandITRA Silver Medalists Baltimore Sailing Club= Johnny Durcan, Fionn Lyden & Mark Hassett. Crews: Trudy O'Hare, Rosa Lyden & Adam Hyland

The Petit Final was won by Georges Street, defeating Lunster's sudden death. Prestige Worldwide won the youth event, and Holy Child Killiney were awarded the all-girl team prize.

ITRA Bronze Medalists Georges Street, Peter Fagan, Toby Fowler & Noah McCarthy Crews - Emma Gallagher, Fiona Ferguson, & Rosemary TyrrellITRA Bronze Medalists Georges Street, Peter Fagan, Toby Fowler & Noah McCarthy Crews - Emma Gallagher, Fiona Ferguson, & Rosemary Tyrrell

At the event dinner in George, John Sheehy presented ITRA outgoing Chairman Ailbe Millerick & outgoing ITRA Secretary Eunice Kennedy jacket awards for their long service to Team Racing in Ireland.

John Sheehy (centre) presents ITRA outgoing Chairman Ailbe Millerick & outgoing ITRA Secretary Eunice Kennedy with ITRA jacket awardsJohn Sheehy (centre) presents ITRA outgoing Chairman Ailbe Millerick & outgoing ITRA Secretary Eunice Kennedy with ITRA jacket awards

2023 ITRA Champions George Jesters

Jack Fahy, Liam Glynn, Tom Higgins
Crews: Kathy Kelly, Emilly Hill & Cian Lynch

Silver Medalists Baltimore Sailing Club
Johnny Durcan, Fionn Lyden & Mark Hassett.
Crews: Trudy O'Hare, Rosa Lyden & Adam Hyland.

Bronze Medalists Georges Street
Peter Fagan, Toby Fowler & Noah McCarthy
Crews - Emma Gallagher, Fiona Ferguson, & Rosemary Tyrrell.

First Youth - Prestige Worldwide
Russell Bolger, Max Cantwell, and Peter Williams
Crews - Lilley Dwyer, Patrick Foley and Ella Dempsey

All-girl team prize  

Olivia Ryan, Zita Tempany, Nora Jane Sexton, Orla Casey, Molly O'Flaherty, Ameline Hennessy, Lily Donagh, Lucia Cullen and H.C.K. Principal Caroline O'Brien

A team racing party piece at the Royal St. George Yacht Club ITRA dinner A team racing party piece at the Royal St. George Yacht Club ITRA dinner 

Published in Team Racing

Eighteen teams are lined up to contest the 75th Team Racing National Championships in the Royal St George YC in Fireflies this weekend, supported by a team of 35 volunteers on and off the water under the watchful eyes of Eunice Kennedy, ITRA Secretary Ronan Adams, Sailing Manager RStGYC and Event Director Ailbe MiIlerick.

Entries closed Monday, with Holy Child Killiney (HKC) taking the last youth spot. Demand from School teams was very strong, and three teams remained on the waiting list at closure.

Four places are reserved for invited youth champion teams as they are at or close to the standard of the ‘senior teams’ and will enjoy the experience rather than simply being cannon fodder. A few scalps will be taken by this talented group.

Teams from Queens Belfast in the north to Baltimore SC in the south will be taking part, including the Colleges and College alumni teams from both UCD, UCC and Trinity under various guises.

Favourites are Live Action (George) with Liam Glynn & Jack Fahey, who won the British University Sailing Championships for UCD earlier this year (a feat last completed by Johnny Ross Murphy and the Craig brothers Brian & Peter for Trinity 50 years earlier).

Also top-seeded is Johnny Durcan’s Baltimore SC team (UCC Alumni) who won the Irish Universities Championships in Carlingford, defeating UCD in light airs reinforced by Mark Hassett and Fionn Lyden. Deep6 represents DUSC. The George is well represented by the formidable ‘No Show’ (Toby Fowler, Peter Fagan and Noel McCarthy), ‘Live-Action’ Jack Higgins et al and Georges St. (Jacques Murphy, Finn Walker & Tim Norwood). Top schools’ teams comprise St Conleths (Daniel O’Connor ISTRA Champs), St Andrews College represented in two teams, SAC4Cup and Shake the Boaty.

Russel Bolger Junior Helmsman’s Champion is leading Prestige Worldwide. St. Michaels and HCK will compete for their rankings and have a tilt at the more experienced racers. Missing are former Elmo winners ‘Nauti Buoys’ Rocco, Turvey and Daley, who unfortunately couldn’t muster their team due to study pressure. The weather forecast is being watched by the organisers with interest but have confidence that Race Officer Michael Conway & his team will complete the event!

Teams: Live Action, Bunkers, Baltimore SC, Lunster, Deep 6, QUB, Georges St., George Jesters, George No Show, UCC1, UCC2, Tech Univ. Dublin, SAC4Cup, Shake-the-Boaty, Prestige Worldwide, St Conleths, St Michaels & Holy Child Killiney.

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The Shanahan team racing Cup returns for the 2023/24 season in a new format at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Hosted by the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School in conjunction with Gonzaga College SJ, the event will be run over three Wednesdays, November 29th 2023, January 17th and February 7th 2024.

The winner will be the school with the best results over the three events, however, schools do not need to enter all three events in order to participate.

The organisers hope that the format change will give schools more race time before regional and national championships. It will also give less experienced sailors a greater opportunity to represent their school, and if the weather doesn’t co-operate, the format avoids the need to try and find suitable dates to reschedule.

RS Feva sailingRS Feva sailing

Fiachra Etchingham of Gonzaga College has been the driver of this competition since its inception. “The competition, supported by the Shanahan family, aims to promote friendly competition between schools and be as inclusive as possible, catering for sailors of all abilities”.

A team can enter by contacting the Irish National Sailing & Powerboat School’s office on 01 2844195 or by email to [email protected].

Schools will initially be limited in sending up to two teams per school to facilitate as many schools as possible in entering teams up to capacity constraints. Should additional spaces for schools be available as the entry closing date approaches, more than two teams per school will be accepted.

The 2022/2023 academic year Shanahan Cup eventually took place last February, after poor weather delayed earlier attempts. The Cup was won by St Michael’s College holding off tough competition from 9 other teams.

A short video from the last event gives an idea of some of the fun for school students:

Published in INSS
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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