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The Cost of a Sailing Cruiser – ICRA – & 50 Years of Squibs

14th March 2018
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Squibs sailing off Kinsale. The distinctive racing keelboat with mace-coloured sails celebrates its 50th anniversary this year Squibs sailing off Kinsale. The distinctive racing keelboat with mace-coloured sails celebrates its 50th anniversary this year

It’s still cold enough in boatyards to require determination to take off the covers, slide back the hatch and go below to start the annual preparation work. There are some more determined than others to have their boats ready to get the maximum out of the season but, having listened to a work colleague who presented me with a mathematical disassembly of the costs of owning a boat – the balance sheet he compiled in that cold analysis was on the financial red side - my emotional attachment to my boat and the sport of sailing didn’t impress him.

I hear, though, from other owners, telling me that they have also compared cost and usage, but I’m trying to cast aside such disturbing issues as news comes that the cruiser racing season will start on the South Coast on post–St.Patrick’s Day Bank Holiday next Monday – at Kinsale Yacht Club where the March League will provide an All-In introduction to the year for Spinnaker and White Sail Boats.

That notice came as I got a reminder that ICRA members will gather at the Maldron Hotel in Portlaoise on Wednesday night of next week, March 21, at 7.30 p.m. for the extraordinary general meeting which follows on the travails of the organisation in recent months,

The Interim Constitution, which will be voted on, mainly has changes to the management structure, as it appears from its publication on the Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s website, which says that the objective is to “allow the membership the greatest freedom to elect an Executive Committee while ensuring that the views of each region are represented.”

There is emphasis on ensuring a spread of representation from what is described as “the main cruiser fleets and areas…” It provides for the election of a Commodore and Vice Commodore, an Executive Officer and or a National Handicap Officer, a General Council and an Executive Committee, the latter to manage the business of the Association and with power to co-opt members.

The immediate task for the new Executive will be to carry out a review of the objectives and governance of the Association to ensure that it remains relevant to the membership. A 5-year plan and Constitution will be brought back to the membership for adoption.

Squibs 50th Anniversary

From that onshore debate, back to Kinsale and that club’s fleet of Squibs which, from continuing the club’s commitment to disabled sailing, has also become a highly competitive able-bodied boat, to judge from the Frosbite Series where the boats dealt with a wind gusting to 22 knots on the final day last Sunday. Not alone did that make it tough for the sailors but for the Race Committee whose boat was hit not once but three times by racing Squibs - once when one boat was approaching the finishing line; another when starting and the third after finishing a race.

I’m told from Kinsale that plans are underway to mark the 50th anniversary of the Squib Class this August at Calves Week. The prototype Squib was built by boat designer Oliver Lee in 1967, as a successor to the Ajax 23 and the first GRP version was launched in 1968.

• Listen to the Podcast below

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