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A two and a three scored in the opening two races of the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay has put Courtown Sailing Club Quarter Tonner Snoopy (Joanne Hall and Martin Mahon) top of the 11-boat Class Three IRC fleet. 

As predicted, the three optimised Quarter Tonners made full use of the light and tricky conditions in the Scotsman's bay race area.

Snoopy is one point ahead of Paul Coulton's Cri-Cri from the Royal Irish Yacht Club that won the opening race of the championships that has been full of drama.

Third is the Howth-based Formula 28 Animal, also on six points.

Paul Coulton's Cri-Cri from the Royal Irish Yacht Club is one point of the leadPaul Coulton's Cri-Cri from the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

One of the championships favourites, Barry Cunningham and Jonathan Skeritt's Quarter Tonner Quest, was involved in a port and starboard incident in the first race.

The damage to her starboard gunwale took her shroud plate clean out of the hull. The crew were lucky not to lose the rig into the bargain.

The much-fancied RIYC entry now counts a retiral and a DNC. She is unlikely to be back on the water tomorrow, even though an overnight repair is not beyond the bounds of possibilities as we have already seen in this championship.

Quest (and her starboard gunwale) looking good in race one....Quest (and her starboard gunwale) looking good in race one...Photo: Afloat

Having retired after a port and starboard collision, Quest is dockside at the RIYC.....only to be back dockside at the RIYC after a collision... Photo: Afloat

The chainplate was taken clean away in the collision...with the chainplate taken clean away...

Results are here. Racing continues over the weekend.

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As well as taking the top two places overall, J109 designs also took six of the top ten places in the biggest class of the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay today.

Rush Sailing Club's Storm now leads (4,1) but has the same five points as Royal Cork visitor Jelly Baby (Brian Jones) (3, 2) in second.

Third is the much-fancied J/99 of Mike and Ritchie Evans from Howth Sailing and Boating Club on 10 points.

Sub ten knot winds and a small chop was far more than originally forecasted for day one so organisers completed the scheduled programme for ICRA's 80-boat fleet.

The new J/99 'Snapshot' of Mike and Ritchie Evans from Howth Sailing and Boating ClubThe new J/99 of Mike and Ritchie Evans from Howth Sailing and Boating Club Photo: Afloat

Although Howth Yacht Club's Outrajeous (Richard Colwell and John Murphy) outwitted four-time champion John Maybury on Joker II to take the opening race, Outrajeous suffered a UFD penalty in race two to put her tenth in the 23-boat fleet. Joker II from the Royal Irish also suffered a UFD penalty and lies 13th overall giving both top performers an early championships setback.

UFD is the acronym for a U flag disqualification under rule 30.3. If flag U has been displayed by the race officer, no part of a boat's hull, crew or equipment shall be in the triangle formed by the ends of the starting line and the first mark during the last minute before her starting signal. If a boat breaks this rule and is identified, she shall be disqualified without a hearing, but not if the race is restarted or resailed.

Results are here. Racing continues over the weekend

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The National Yacht Club hosts the ICRA Nationals on Friday. 80 boats are entered. As in previous years, Afloat sticks its neck out to predict the top boats and winners in each division at Dun Laoghaire

In a typical year, you would have a big event such as Cork Week or Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta to gauge which boats are on form before predicting who will rise to the podium at a late-season ICRA Nationals. With VDLR cancelled in 2021, we will have to rely on events such as Sovereigns Cup, Calves Week, D2D, ISORA and DBSC to predict the likely winners.

Wind forecasting –this will play a big part this year. With only a day to go, the weather pattern indicates generally light to medium airs. Most wind models call light airs on Friday, a little more on Saturday, maybe around 10 knots. Sunday is generally light, though one wind model is showing 15 knots for the last day.

Class 0 will have only one race —a long coastal on Friday and one race Sunday with three short races on Saturday. All the other classes will have two races on Friday and Sunday and three on Saturday.

Clearly, with light wind predominating for the first two days, it must be expected that the winners will come from boats that do well in these conditions.

Class 0 

An excellent turnout of 13 yachts is expected from Northern Ireland, Cork and Dublin.

As Afloat previously reported, from Northern Ireland comes Shaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7, Gamechanger and Jay Colville's First 40, Forty Licks. These boats perform well and are well crewed but generally prefer medium conditions to let them use their waterline lengths. We are not sure they will get this breeze on Friday and Saturday.

Paul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI - likes the breezePaul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI - likes the breeze Photo: Afloat

If the conditions are medium to fresh, you would have to include Paul O'Higgins' JPK 10.80 as one of the likely winners. However, as was seen at Calves Week this year, she struggles in light airs, and this weekend's forecast will not be to their liking. She will stay in the hunt, though.

Sovereigns Cup winner, the new Grand Soleil 44, Samatom, owned by Bob Rendell from Howth, showed great form in both light and windy conditions in Kinsale to take the series from some good entries. However, her talents at that event included Olympian Mark Mansfield, who for ICRA's will be aboard another Class 0 entry, Frank Whelan's Greystones debutante J/122 Kaya.

The three Sunfast 3600s, Yoyo, Hot Cookie and Searcher, will be competing, but the lighter airs will not be to their liking.

This leaves the two likely favourites in these conditions, Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice from Royal Cork and Frank Whelan's J/122 Kaya. This could be an exciting battle with Mansfield calling the shots on Kaya and Maurice (Prof) O'Connell doing the same on Jump Juice. Should it stay light, there will be nothing in it.

If the breeze comes up a bit, Kaya will still be strong, so we will call for Kaya to take it from Jump, but not by much.

Class 1

With 26 entries, this will be the biggest class numerically. Nearly all from the Dublin area apart from the two well sailed J/109's From Cork (Brian Jones' Jelly Baby and Finbarr O'Regan's Artful Dodger) and the Ker 32, Hijacker from Strangford lough, owned by Stuart Cranston. Hijacker will be the top-rated boat in its class, but if form is anything to go by, her performance at a light airs Scottish Series in 2021 will not bode well for this event.

Form boat - J/99 Snapshot (Mike and Ritchie Evans)Form boat - J/99 Snapshot (Mike and Ritchie Evans) Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 1 will likely be dominated by the many J/109s competing plus the new J/99 Snapshot, owned by Richard and Michael Evans from Howth. Snapshot won a competitive Sovereigns Cup Class 1 and is competitive in light and medium conditions. She will have Shane Hughes aboard, so expect her to make the podium.

The conditions will favour the J 109's, and there are 14 entered. Trying to pick who will emerge will be difficult. In 2021, Finbarr O'Regan's Artful Dodger took the runner up spot at the Sovereign's Cup, but that is after John Murphy and Richard Colwell's Outrageous had two OCS results. Outrageous, if she stays clean, will be in the mix. From Dublin Bay, you have the trio of John Maybury's Joker 2 (a four times ICRA winner), Tim Goodbody's White Mischief and Brian and John Hall's Something Else. All three regularly perform well. From Howth, Outrageous (tactician Aoife Hopkins) will be joined by Pat Kelly's Storm (tactician Robert O'Leary), who favours a breeze typically, but will nevertheless be there or thereabouts. Depending on what talent these J109's have onboard will determine who will likely come to the top.

We will go for Outrajeous and Snapshot, taking the top two slots, with Snapshot taking it by a hair.

Class 2

14 entries in this class will undoubtedly be dominated by the Half Tonners who excel in lighter airs. If there is a breeze for the three days, you could see Anthony Gore Grimes Dux come into the picture, but it does not look like this breeze will be present. Likewise, the J 97's Lambay Rules and Windjammer.

Not to be ruled out - David Kelly's Half Tonner King OneNot to be ruled out - David Kelly's Half Tonner King One Photo: Bob Bateman

The battle of the Half Tonners will be intriguing. The three form Half tonners will unfortunately not include David Cullen's Checkmate XV. Instead Cullen will sail with Nigel Biggs on Checkmate XVIII. Darran Wright's Mata will include Howth's Ross McDonald and Olympian Killian Collins, who will no doubt make a difference. The form would say that Nigel Biggs always performs well on the big stage. We will call for Nigel Biggs Checkmate XVIII to take it from Mata and Jonny Swann sailing David Kelly's King One instead of his regular Harmony coming in third.

Class 3

Paul Coulton's Cri CriPaul Coulton's Cri Cri Photo: Afloat

Like Class 2, In lighter airs, the Quarter Tonners will like to rule the roost here. Paul Coulton's Cri Cri and Barry Cunningham and Jonathan Skeritt's Quest, both from the Royal Irish, will likely be the front runners. Of these two, Quest has the better record in the past and loves the light air.  Northern Ireland's Snoopy is still something of an unknown quantity here.

Were there to be breeze develop expect the J 24's to come into the picture, and of these, the wily Flor O'Driscoll could be one to watch.

Quest to win from Cri Cri and then a J24, possibly Flor.

Download the full entry list for the ICRA Championships here and download the Sailing Instructions below

This article was updated at 2 pm on Sept 2 to include additional crew and entry details

Published in ICRA

Five boats based at Northern clubs are making their way to Dun Laoghaire Harbour for this weekend's three-day ICRA championships hosted by the National Yacht Club, which has attracted 77 entries. Two of the northern contingent are by the same French designer, Le Basculer and Snoopy, both by Joubert Nievelt.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the abandonment of much of the 2020 and early 2021 fixtures but measures have now been relaxed enough to permit safe competition afloat though shoreside social activities continue to be severely curtailed for this season.

The Quarter Tonner Snoopy owned by Joanne Hall and Martin Mahon is entered in the 13-boat Class 3 under Courtown Sailing Club in Wexford but they have become recent members of Royal Ulster Yacht Club on Belfast Lough and often race out of that club. Martin campaigned his previous boat, the First Class 8, Seeyoulater and clocked up a couple of wins in Cork Week.

With Snoopy recently, Calves Week served as a good dust-off and a second in Greystones Regatta last weekend pleased the crew. "I'm looking forward to some good close racing in Dun Laoghaire. Graeme Noonan's Formula 28 Flash and the ¼ tonner Quest as well a Flor O'Driscoll's J24 Hard on Port will need watching!".

Quarter Tonner Snoopy will compete in Class 3Quarter Tonner Snoopy will compete in Class 3

Jay Colville's First 40 from Royal Ulster and Shaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 will continue their local rivalry in Class 0. Forty Licks was pipped into second overall in Class 0 in the 2019 event on a tie break by Paul O'Higgins' Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Jay Colville said he is looking forward to racing out of Dun Laoghaire.

Jay Colville's First 40 'Forty Licks' from Royal UlsterJay Colville's First 40 'Forty Licks' from Royal Ulster

From one of the smallest clubs in the North, Cockle Island BC on the North County Down coast is Shaun Douglas's Game Changer. In recent rivalry, the Beneteau 40.7 has managed to keep Forty Licks at bay but the 13 boat Zero fleet will present a different challenge.

Shaun Douglas's Game ChangerShaun Douglas's Game Changer

Strangford Lough clubs are represented in Class 1 by Stuart Cranston's Ker 32 from Strangford Lough YC which is expected to present a fresh challenge; the other is the French-designed Archambault A 35 Le Basculer, owned by Mike Spence from the same designer as Snoopy the Quarter Tonner in Class 3 – Joubert Nievelt.

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The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships returns to Dublin Bay this weekend (September 3-5th) and brings one of the biggest Division Zero fleets the cruiser-racer body has ever seen.

An expected fleet of 13 Zeros is bigger than the fleet of ten that raced in the 2019 Championships at the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

The National Yacht Club will host the championships, the biggest test for Irish cruiser-racers since West Cork's Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale in June and Calves Week in August.

In all, a total fleet of almost 80 boats has been mustered, and that's a welcome boost for the championships that was cancelled twice last year in the pandemic.

Class divisions are downloadable below (as an excel file) for the weekend championships as another strong fleet of Division One yachts is unveiled by ICRA, with 25 or so entries anticipated. 

National titles

The arrival of the championships mean national titles in four IRC classes plus a white sails event will be decided on the Bay by next Sunday.

A total of 17 clubs from Ireland's North, South and East coasts will be represented by 77 crews, a slight reduction in overall numbers (100 boats in 2019) attributed to the country's gradual reopening after Covid-19.

ICRA Nationals - A total of 17 clubs from Ireland's North, South and East coasts will be represented Photo: AfloatICRA Nationals - 17 clubs from Ireland's North, South and East coasts will be represented. Photo: Afloat

“This year’s event is an opportunity for re-building crews and team bonding,” said Richard Colwell, Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association. "This year hasn't been without regular club racing, but the ICRA championships will be the biggest test of the year with so many clubs represented in the fleet."

The ICRA series will be hosted by the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire. The Covid restrictions in place mean that with a maximum of 200 to be accommodated in one location, the championships will have to spread out a little. After consultation with the other waterfront clubs, Royal St George and Royal Irish members will be hosted by their respective clubs. Visiting boats and their crews will be hosted at the National Yacht Club.The ICRA series will be hosted by the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire. The Covid restrictions mean that the championships will have to spread out a little, with a maximum of 200 to be accommodated in one location. After consultation with the other waterfront clubs, Royal St George and Royal Irish members will be hosted by their respective clubs. Visiting boats and their crews will be hosted at the National Yacht Club.

ICRA Courses

Many former national champions are participating across all classes. Two inshore fleets, with Class 1 in White Fleet and Class 2, 3 and non-spinnaker in Orange fleet, will race windward/leeward and round the cans. Class 0 will race a mixture of coastal and windward/leeward courses, starting from the same line as Class 1.

International Race Officers Jack Roy and Con Murphy are running racing afloat. At the same time, Ailbe Millerick and Bill O'Hara will lead ICRA's Protest Committee, who will, as in 2019, be on the water to witness racing.

Robert Rendell's Grand Soleil 44 SamatomRobert Rendell's Grand Soleil 44 Samatom will be racing in a bumper Class Zero Photo: Adam Winkelmann

After a great season with his previous boat Eleuthera, Frank Whelan's J122 Kaya from Greystones Sailing Club could well be the form boat in Division Zero, though with a slew of rivals in this hotly contested class. Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice from the Royal Cork YC and Paul O'Higgins' JPK1080 Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish YC are certain to be in the mix with Robert Rendell's Grand Soleil 44 Samatom from Howth YC.

Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump JuiceConor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice Photo: Bob Bateman

After overall victory in Kinsale for the Sovereign's Cup in June, Mike & Richard Evans' J99 Snapshot will again try to disrupt the J109 fleet's dominance of Division 1. However, Stuart Cranston's Ker 32 Hijacker from Strangford Lough could add a fresh challenge.

Mike & Richard Evans' J99 SnapshotMike & Richard Evans' J/99 Snapshot Photo: Bob Bateman

Of the J109s, John and Brian Hall’s Something Else from the National YC will be looking for a result on home turf but can expect Howth's Colwell with John Murphy on Outrajeous to be on form as well as the Jones family's Jelly Baby from Crosshaven and the Goodbody's White Mischief from the Royal Irish YC.

John and Brian Hall’s Something Else from the National YC Photo: Bob BatemanJohn and Brian Hall’s Something Else from the National YC Photo: Bob Bateman

"We're all set and looking forward it - this is our first regatta in two years - we have a great crew, some of whom have sailed with me for 40 years," said Tim Goodbody (80). "Racing under IRC is great as we can sail with nine up so I can share the helm with Richard when I get tired."

The Royal Irish Yacht Club's John Maybury has made it four in a row at the ICRA National Championships in his Class One J109 Yacht Joker IIThe Royal Irish Yacht Club's John Maybury made it four in a row at the ICRA National Championships in 2019 in his Class One J109 yacht Joker II Photo: Afloat.

Nigel Biggs from Howth YC moves out of his new Flying Fifteen one design and back into Checkmate XVIII and will be the boat to beat in Division 2 after a near-perfect track record of wins in Dublin Bay in recent years. The Wright/De Nieve owned Mata, also from Howth, are likely challengers amongst the half-tonners.

Nigel Biggs'Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII Nigel Biggs' Half Tonner Checkmate XVIII Photo: Afloat

If the event gets breeze, clubmates Dux, an X302 sailed by the Gore-Grimes family, could repeat their 2019 event win though Lindsay Casey and Denis Powers' J97 Windjammer from the Royal St George YC is also tipped for the fresher conditions.

Anthony Gore-Grimes' Dux from Howth Yacht Club emerged overall winner of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships Photo:AfloatAnthony Gore-Grimes' Dux from Howth Yacht Club emerged overall winner of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships Photo: Afloat.

Bray Sailing Club’s Flor O’Driscoll will be taking on the might of the Royal Irish YC with his J24 Hard On Port facing the likes of Paul Colton’s Cri Cri and Barry Cunningham with Jonathan Skerritts' Quest, both revamped quarter-tonners.

"I've always enjoyed the ICRA's as the J24 is rated pretty well under IRC," O'Driscoll said while preparing for East coast championships in Howth. "We raced for the first time in two years in Foynes for the southerns but could have done better with a sixth place."

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the abandonment of much of the 2020 and early 2021 fixtures. Still, measures have been relaxed enough to permit safe competition afloat though shoreside social activities continue to be severely curtailed for this season.

Howth J109 Outrajeous (Richard Colwell and John Murphy) Photo: Bob BatemanHowth J109 Outrajeous (Richard Colwell and John Murphy) Photo: Bob Bateman

"Our main priority is to deliver a strong racing series afloat this year which will certain to be a warm-up for hopefully a full 2022 season," said Richard Colwell, Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association. "While social is more difficult in Covid restrictions, we have worked hard to make sure there will still be limited social activity spread across the Dun Laoghaire waterfront so everyone can enjoy the event as much as possible."

Racing begins this Friday at 1125hrs.

2021 ICRA National Championships Event Schedule

Thursday 6th June

2100hrs Skippers Briefing on Zoom (an invitation will be emailed in advance)

Friday 7th June

0830hrs Breakfast on the forecourt, Coffee & pastries in Club Room bar
1125hrs Racing
1600hrs BBQ on the forecourt
1800hrs Sailing Buffet in Dining Room

Saturday 8th June

0830hrs Breakfast on the forecourt, Coffee & pastries in Club Room bar
1125hrs Racing
1600hrs BBQ on the forecourt
1930hrs Regatta Dinner

Sunday 9th June

0830hrs Breakfast on the forecourt, Coffee & pastries in Club Room bar
1025hrs Racing
1500hrs BBQ on the forecourt
Approx. 1630hrs ICRA National Championships Prize Giving

Published in ICRA

Having recovered from the recent gruelling Fastnet Race, Royal Cork yacht Nieulargo continues to top the scoreboard for ICRA’s Boat of the Year Award.

According to the latest rankings released by ICRA (on August 20) the Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (Denis and Annamarie Murphy) remains at nine points and is followed by another Irish Fastnet Race competitor, Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing that recorded a top class result, scoring second in division four in the ocean classic.

There are still several boats in contention for the ICRA top boat award given the ICRA Nationals, WIORA, ISORA, DBSC Thursday Series, HYC & RCYC Autumn Leagues are all yet to be completed.

The latest scores are listed below: 

ICRA Boat of the Year points

  • Nieulargo 9
  • Desert Star Irish Offshore Sailing 6
  • Juggerknot II 6
  • Coracle VI 4.5
  • Samatom 4.5
  • Shillelagh 4.5
  • Slack Alice 4.5
  • Snapshot 4.5
  • YaGottaWanna 4.5
  • Freya 4
  • Humdinger 4
  • Indian 4
  • Rockabill VI 4
Published in ICRA
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With the final details being sorted for the Dublin Bay-based ICRA National Championships in a fortnight, the entry deadline is today.

The fleet has hit 70 boats according to the latest update from ICRA here

The September 3-5 championships will see racing in all IRC and ECHO classes including White Sails. 

The organisers are trying hard (within COVID regulations) to combine three days of sailing plus socialising onshore at the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Further details will be sent to all entrants in advance including berthing details, socials and race instructions.

"This is really shaping up to be a fantastic event with big classes so make sure to join in by entering today here", says ICRA's Dave Cullen.

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With one day left until registration closes for the ICRA Nationals, over 70 boats are now registered with strong fleets taking shape across all classes writes ICRA's Dave Cullen

The event will take place at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th September, and promises to be one of the highlights of the sailing calendar this year.

In the White Sails division, boats will be challenging for the ICRA Corinthians Cup on both IRC and ECHO giving a great opportunity to all yachts at different levels.

Great racing planned is planned for the fleet and we would encourage any more White Sail yachts to enter the event. The fleet will be well looked after to provide an enjoyable weekend of racing, with a balance of round the cans and windward-leeward racing.

Plans have also been made to provide results separately for boats with furling and non-furling genoas.

"Plans are made to provide results separately for boats with furling and non-furling genoas"

Plans are currently underway to deliver as great a social occasion as possible within Covid guidelines, utilising outside space to ensure that the après sail part of the event is provided for all competitors and crew.

Sailing instructions are currently being finalised, but in the meantime, competitors should take note of the ICRA General Rules which form part of the SIs.

These were previously debated and agreed by members at recent ICRA Conferences. These general rules provide a blueprint for regatta parameters with some of the key ones including:

  • Crew limits – agreed and voted by members to be IRC Cert +1 for the prestigious national championships event.
  • Cert Dates – need to be at least 5 days before the first scheduled day of racing, and must be endorsed for those racing in ICRA groupings A to H in spinnaker divisions (August 27th in practice)
  • Safety equipment - OSR Appendix B shall be complied with

The ICRA General Rules also give guidelines to boats grouping and divisions, which will be used to finalise classes for the event.

The full ICRA General Rules can be found here

We look forward to seeing as many boats as possible what we hope will be a great event.

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The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) and the National Yacht Club are taking steps to minimise the need for close contact during next month's ICRA National Championships.

As Afloat reported earlier, 63 boats have already entered the September 3-5 championships ahead of Friday's deadline.

Taking learnings from June's Sovereigns Cup and Cowes Week, one and two-turn penalties will be replaced with a scoring penalty. By flying a yellow flag at the time of an incident, a boat can take a two-point penalty.

Arbitration will be available, and hearings can be attended by Zoom.

In keeping with the zero-paper approach, requests for hearings will be made via the racingrulesofsailing.org APP or website (event 2363).

ICRA Umpires and Jury Officials will be led by Ailbe Millerick and Bill O’Hara, who will be afloat, witnessing racing as in 2019.

Thursday evening’s ICRA Nationals briefing will be held on Zoom. A Q&A is now available.

Please contact the ICRA technical delegate (Ric Morris, [email protected]) if you have any questions.

There will be no need to register in person at the start of the event. ICRA will work directly with the rating office to confirm IRC ratings for the event, so please ensure they have the correct details on their database

ICRA says the 27th will be the final day changes can be processed before the cut-off.

Published in ICRA
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63 boats have already signed up for September's ICRA National Championships ahead of the entry closing date this Friday.

ICRA is expecting more to come by the deadline as some new on-form boats including Mike and Richard Evans J/99 Snapshot and Robert Rendell’s’ Samaton, both successful at June's Sovereign's Cup, are already confirmed. 

As regular Afloat readers know, the event will be hosted by the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay and the hope is that the final entry will reach 2019 entry levels when the championships were last staged on the Bay.

As Afloat reported earlier, DBSC is supporting the ICRA event by not holding Dublin Bay Cruiser Racing on Saturday, 4th September. 

Race divisions have yet to be finalised subject to final entries but it is great to see each of the classes is featuring a competitive lineup including the Half Tonners, Dux, the sharp J109s together with some top non-spinnaker boats.

Entries close at 5:00 pm on Friday and you can enter here 

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