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ICRA Survey Identifies Barriers to Irish Cruiser Racing

23rd February 2023
Yachts competing at the 2022 ICRA Nationals raced as part of Cork Week in Cork Harbour
Yachts competing at the 2022 ICRA Nationals raced as part of Cork Week in Cork Harbour Credit: Bob Bateman

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s survey of members has identified the biggest barriers to racing as being the costs involved in travelling to events and the lack of crews.

The online survey asked members their views “to improve, support and encourage cruiser racing, including events held last year, handicapping and class bands.”

The five main findings are:

  • 1 - The National Championships rating among attendees falls back slightly, with a third suggesting it was worse than expected, but half still say it was better. (The Championships 2022 were held over five days as part of Cork Week)
  • 2 - The biggest issues revolve around key aspects of the racing and costs of attending the event, with courses chosen, the competitiveness of divisions and the length of races all scoring relatively poorly. The organisation and social parts of the event all scoring ok.
  • 3 - Under 25s and women are well represented on cruiser boats racing in Ireland.
  • 4 - There is a move toward a preference for women and Under 18 crew to allow for extra crew allowance, the preference being an extra +1if a boat has either of these categories
  • 5 - The biggest barriers to racing are getting to events, the costs, and lack of crew. Band splits are also a big issue for some.

ICRA Survey

An invitation to take part in the survey was sent by e-mail to all members, including all who competed in the 2022 National Championships.

The Class one yacht Raptor competing in the 2021 ICRANational Championships on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatThe Class One yacht Raptor competing in the 2021 ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

In total, 125 members responded; 43 of those took part in the National Championships, while 82 did not. On average, 90 members answered each question. 79% of those that responded were boat owners. A broad cross-section of all classes and yacht clubs nationwide were surveyed.

Under 25 crew in a Royal St. George J80 keelboat on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat An Under 25 crew in a Royal St. George J80 keelboat on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat 

ICRA Survey

ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen says that, from the findings, it is apparent that three-day regatta events are most popular and that it is very clear that costs of travel, and accommodation are major issues, particularly with societal and work pressures on participants. He said the issues raised will be discussed at this year’s annual general meeting of the Association, which will be held on Saturday, March 4 at the Royal St.George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Amongst topics emerging from the survey to be considered will be the age demographic in cruiser racing, and the increasing interest in white sails racing, possibly a reflection of this. The involvement of more younger sailors is a positive aspect of the survey reflecting the success of ICRA’s Under 25 development project.

ICRA Commodore Dave CullenICRA Commodore Dave Cullen

Commodore Cullen is my Podcast guest this week. I asked him first to outline the major issues arising from the survey.

Listen to Podcast here.

Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He presents the monthly programme Maritime Ireland on Podcast services and Irish radio stations.

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