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IRC specialist and Olympic helmsman Mark Mansfield analyses the rating rule changes agreed for next season.

Following the IRC Congress earlier this month, chaired by Ireland's Michael Boyd, changes were agreed for the 2021 season. The two main areas of change deal with Spinnaker Pole/Sprit lengths and Flying Jibs. 

Bowsprit/Spinnaker Pole IRC changes for 2021

Whisker poles

In late 2019 IRC came up with a new method of dealing with Whisker poles which were becoming more common, especially on larger Offshore boats, where the offwind sails like Code 0s and Flying Jibs could be sheeted further outboard on the whisker pole outriggers.

Some confusion arose around the 2020 revalidation form and options that were offered to owners who did not have a whisker pole but did have both a sprit and also used a spinnaker pole for Symmetrical Spinnakers. It appears some of these boats may have been over-penalised in 2020.

For 2021, a new definition of what is a whisker pole has been agreed by World Sailing and an individual question will now be asked in the 2021 revalidation to determine if a boat is carrying one.

It means the options for owners who have both a bowsprit and also use a spinnaker pole become simpler.

Pole/Sprit sizing

Up to now, it appears that your STL (from front of the mast to end of Sprit or end of pole) was the only figure that was taken to cover both your pole length and how far your Sprit extended. So if you added a sprit to your bow and this came out further than your pole, then it cost nothing in rating to extend your pole to that same length. However, many owners did not go to the bother or expense of splitting their pole and extending it. 

For 2021, it now appears that if your pole is not as long as your Sprit, you may, in some circumstances, get a better rating for having the shorter pole. Both the sprit length (STL) and the pole length (SPL) can and should now be provided in your 2021 revalidation. This may also mean that owners adding a sprit might opt for a longer sprit compared to the very stubby Sprit we have seen recently, and not incur the same penal penalty. Trial certs should be looked at to confirm this.

The text from the IRC rating office is below:

To fully benefit from the changes owners are asked to confirm the pole configuration of their boat, and SPL as well as STL if applicable when applying for a certificate. For revalidation, SPL should be supplied if it is different from the previous rated STL. If SPL is not supplied then STL will automatically be used for spinnaker pole length if applicable, which may result in a higher TCC. Boats may see a change in their TCC for 2021 and the rating effect will depend on the specific configuration of the boat.

Flying Jibs—IRC Changes

The way IRC handles Flying Jibs is changing as is their definition.

History—Flying Jibs

Flying Jibs became popular due to a change in the IRC rules back in 2017 when it became legal for a headsail to be tacked forward of the forestay onto a sprit. This allowed a Headsail to be designed with a high clew which was the same size as the boats Jib, and so no extra rating penalty as only the largest is rated. These Flying Jibs could then be used with another jib or staysail inside them. Effectively it was a small flat code 0, normally on a furler, which was very efficient when power reaching in more wind than a code 0 could take. Code 0's were rated as spinnakers and so had to be designed wide in the middle to meet the 75% mid girth IRC requirement. However, the flying jib had no such restriction and could be designed to be quite flat.

Not too many of these sails have turned up in Ireland so far, but internationally you could see them become popular especially on larger offshore boats that often set 2 or 3 headsails forward of the mast.

A Flying Jib used with headsail. This will still be allowed in 2021 but the Flying jib like this will continue as a headsailA Flying Jib used with headsail. This will still be allowed in 2021 but the Flying jib like this will continue as a headsail

Changes for 2021—Flying Jibs

The new 2021 rule now has come up with a new definition of what exactly is a flying jib and requires any boat carrying one or more of these to report them on their 2021 revalidation and they will be included in their new Cert, and a likely penalty will be incurred.
A headsail design that is the same size or smaller than a boats max size headsail can still be set on a boats sprit, so what was referred to as a flying jib over the last few years continues, per IRC, now defined as a headsail. These sails do not need to be reported as a Flying jib.

Effectively the new Flying jibs are a flat, perhaps slightly smaller Code 0. From the graph below, you will see that they can be quite costly on rating so a prolonged period of use in their perfect conditions would be needed to justify this rating increase.

Owners declaring a Flying Headsail within the IRC definition will see a change in rating for 2021. Some representative examples are shown below; these are for guidance only as the rating effect will depend upon the rig configuration and many other boat factors.Owners declaring a Flying Headsail within the IRC definition will see a change in rating for 2021. Some representative examples are shown above these are for guidance only as the rating effect will depend upon the rig configuration and many other boat factors. Source IRC

The J/99 Juggerknot at the start of Fastnet 450 race with flying jib and headsail set Photo: AfloatThe J/99 Juggerknot at the start of Fastnet 450 race on Dublin Bay with flying jib and headsail set Photo: Afloat

The definition of what is a Flying Jib is twofold.

  1. It must have a mid-girth of at least 62.5% of its foot. This will force sail designers to design these sails much fuller than they would normally want to do. This is to stop these sails effectively been used upwind as large jibs.
  2. IRC has put a minimum foot length of these sails to stop very small Flying Jibs being designed. There is a formula for this.

The full details and formulas can be found here

The Rating Office has provided the above graph of what penalties will likely be incurred by boats that use certain sized Flying jibs going forward. These are based on sail sizes that might be efficient to design. It is unlikely that the penalty will prove attractive to take for IRC boats that do not do long offshore races. 

Other IRC changes

There have been some other clarifications mainly around wording, age dates, series dates and the use of foils. These are all covered in the IRC changes link given above.

Published in ICRA
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Representatives of the International Rating Certificate (IRC) from around the world met at the beginning of October for the annual IRC Congress to discuss the past IRC season and future developments. This year the planned gathering in London was not possible due to Coronavirus so the meeting was held online with delegates joining the meeting from varied time zones as far apart as the East Coast USA and Japan. One IRC representative joined the meeting from aboard his boat in autumnal Finland.

Irish interests at Congress were represented by Richard Colwell from ICRA, Mark Mills representing Irish Owners and Liz Hall from the ISA.

IRC Congress 2020 was chaired for the second year by Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor Michael Boyd, supported by Vice-Chairman Carl Sabbe of Belgium. Congress was sorry to hear that after 12 years of service Malcolm Runnalls has stepped down as IRC International Owners’ Representative and IRC Committee Vice Chairman. Malcolm has been involved in IRC from the point of view of a sailor, measurer and independent representative for many years and was instrumental in the introduction of IRC into Australia; his insights and wisdom will be missed. Stepping into Malcolm’s shoes is Simon James, another long time user and supporter of IRC, owners’ representative in South East Asia and a well-known Principal Race Officer across Asia.

Delegates gathered from across Europe, Scandinavia, Brazil, Japan and the USA; and from organisations including RORC, UNCL, the Royal Yachting Association and the International Maxi Association. Due to the online format and time zone constraints this year’s conference lacked the usual informal discussions enjoyed by delegates to share experiences and ideas from different perspectives and racing cultures, but more informal online meetings and discussions are expected to take place during the next year.

A number of technical developments were proposed by the IRC Technical Committee for 2021 and agreed by Congress. These include the addition of ‘flying headsails’ to the IRC sail inventory; more equitable treatment of spinnaker and whisker poles; and recognition that it is not currently possible to rate fully foiling boats fairly within the existing IRC fleet, although the Technical Committee will be exploring ways to rate these exciting, fully foiling boats in the future.

The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and l’Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL), joint owners of IRC, work closely together on a day-to-day basis through their respective rating offices with both offices accessing the IRC software on the same server, on research and technical development and on overall governance of the rule. This relationship has been further strengthened over the last year with a new collaborative agreement that will come into effect on 1 January 2021. This will result in integration of the teams based in UK and France, both employees and volunteers in one single structure, although geographical location of individuals will be maintained. We will continue to use online communication tools to manage this international team. This consolidation will enhance IRC’s operations, development and research of IRC with the the aim of delivering the best service to sailors and race organisers. RORC and UNCL look forward to the continued success of IRC racing.

Fastnet Race 2021

Some exciting events are scheduled for 2021 including the IRC European Championship to be held in Hyeres, France in June; and the Rolex Fastnet Race in August which will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin for the first time. The joint IRC/ORC World Championship due to be held in Newport, RI in September 2020, unfortunately, fell victim to Coronavirus with overseas entrants unable to travel to join the event. The next World Championship is expected to be held in 2022.

The Congress Minutes, IRC 2021 rule changes and other associated documents are online here

Published in RORC
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Clubs running yacht racing using the International Rating Certificate (IRC) rating rule can find a myriad of useful resources on the IRC website, including the Race Management Guidelines which have recently been updated with some useful tips picked up from clubs running racing during the Coronavirus pandemic. These updates include ideas for reducing crew numbers and highlighting the benefits for club racing.

Race format suggestions have been added that can reduce the number of race support personnel required. There is also an additional section on ways of encouraging youth and mixed-gender to IRC racing using the crew number limits.

The Race Management Guidelines range from the basics of how to invoke IRC rules to advice for clubs who would like to tailor the rules in more detail in their Notice of Race, where permitted. Subjects include class split ideas, rating change deadlines, crew limits, endorsed certificates, non-spinnaker and short-handed racing, protests, and safety and stability screening. There are also recommendations on course setting, dual scoring with performance handicap, policing and equipment inspection.

A very useful tool for clubs is the online list of boats holding a current IRC certificate; boats must hold a current certificate to race and these expire on 31st December (or 31st May in some countries) each year. The online list is updated every evening and has a search facility as well as the option to download the full list.

As part of its Racing Rules Guidance the Royal Yachting Association in the UK publishes guidance on protests concerning alleged breaches of IRC rules and these can also be found on the IRC website.

To access all this information see the IRC Racing section here

Published in RORC
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Former successful Irish A35 Fools Gold is continuing her winning ways in new hands on the Solent, lifting an IRC title in Cowes at the weekend under her new name Arcus.

Mid-September it may be, but conditions for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 2020 IRC championships felt more like June this weekend, with shorts and T-shirts conditions and allowing a full schedule of racing to be laid on by PRO Stuart Childerley and his team. The event concluded today with two windward-leeward races on the central-eastern Solent in more variable and generally lighter winds than on Friday or Saturday.

Despite being new to their A35 Arcus, John Howell and Paul Newell’s crew managed perfect scorelines on day one and today to win not just IRC Three, but the IRC National Championship overall. Given their lack of familiarity with their boat, to earn themselves this coveted title, said Newell “...was beyond our wildest expectations. We were trying to improve our crew and it turned out to be a very successful first outing - an amazing result! It has been a fantastic regatta. There’s been some great racing. I haven’t heard a bad word said about it - thanks very much RORC.”

Conditions this weekend allowed the Arcus crew to try out all their sails including their #1 jib in today’s lighter winds. “Today was a lot nicer although there was a weird tide line and IRC Two weren’t taking any prisoners when we got in among them,” continued Newell.

Demonstrating how the RORC’s IRC rating rule smiles on professionals and amateurs alike, the Arcus crew is firmly in the latter camp, comprising principally co-owners Howell and Newell and their sons, who come from the Buckinghamshire area.

Winner of IRC One - Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán Photo: Paul WyethWinner of IRC One - Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán Photo: Paul WyethRAN

At the opposite end of the IRC spectrum, a 1-3 today was enough to comfortably secure Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán victory by five points in IRC One, but a few uncharacteristic blemishes on their scoreline dropped them to second overall.

Having led the fleet around the race track this weekend, Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator finally made up her time to secure her first win of the event in today’s final windward-leeward. “I was a bit rusty, but it is just like falling off a bike!” quipped Langley. “What a great weekend - we couldn’t have picked better weather. It was very enjoyable, nice conditions and good race management. It was nice to be back on the water.” This was Langley’s first event of 2020.

IRC Two winner - David Franks J/112E Leon Photo: Paul WyethIRC Two winner - David Franks J/112E Leon Photo: Paul Wyeth

The hardest fought victory across the three classes was that of 2012 winner David Franks aboard his J/112E Leon. They had been handicapped with Franks only coming out of COVID-19 isolation on Friday; maths not working in their favour from the event’s mandatory crew number reduction rules (for social distancing), but mainly from being one of the lowest rated boats in IRC Two and having to find lanes and constantly fight their way up through the fleet. On the plus side the Leon crew had sailed together previously this year. Otherwise, Franks had no complaints: “It has been fabulous, a very good event, well organised. It was lovely to see so many boats out on the Solent.”

Leon posted a 1-2 today with Robert Bottomley’s MAT 12 Sailplane 3 first in the final race. “Normally we do well in the light, despite the fact that we are the smallest boat,” continued Franks. “Today the wind’s velocity was going up and down and was all over the place in direction, so it was hard to know what was going on. It was very challenging, a lot of work.”

Celebrating their overall win in the IRC Two-Handed Championship - Dee Caffari and James Harayda on their Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo Photo: Paul WyethCelebrating their overall win in the IRC Two-Handed Championship - Dee Caffari and James Harayda on their Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo Photo: Paul Wyeth

Running alongside has been the IRC Two-Handed Nationals. With the increased popularity of this discipline due to it being social distancing-friendly and becoming an Olympic event for Paris 2024, the fleet was packed with talent. Going into the final day Dee Caffari and James Harayda on the Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo was tied with Jeremy Waitt and double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson on Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada. However a 1-3 was enough to secure Gentoo the title as Jangada’s 4-4.5 caused her to drop off the podium, albeit just one point short of second.

Caffari and Harayda coming second in the Drheam Cup was enough to gain them the GBR berth in the recent EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship, where their result was disappointing. As Caffari explained: “We were selected, but had to pay to go: We went to Italy, sailed in an unknown venue on an unknown boat with no support. We had a good inshore race and then made some critical errors offshore and didn’t have the performance we wanted. We were determined to come here and prove a point about why we were selected. We are delighted with our result.”

Gentoo was launched in today’s first race, consolidating their lead on the second leg of their round the cans race by committing to their powerful Code 0 early, but then suffering after being rolled by Gladiator.

Caffari was pleased by the quality of the fleet: “A lot of sailors were here who know what they are doing and know these waters and the tides. It is about eliminating errors and getting around the course cleanly.”
Race Committee

It was a great weekend of racing on the Solent for the IRC Nationals and IRC Two-Handed ChampionshipIt was a great weekend of racing on the Solent for the IRC Nationals and IRC Two-Handed Championship run by the RORC Race Team Photo: Paul Wyeth

Behind them it was close with second to fifth places separated by just 1.5 points. Ultimately it was Gareth Edmondson and former Artemis Offshore Academy graduate Hugh Brayshaw, who came home second on countback after winning today’s second race by just 16 seconds. Sailing a chartered Sun Fast 3600, this result was a complete surprise for Edmondson who praised his co-skipper, with whom he last sailed doublehanded offshore two years ago. “Hugh is the genius and I just do as I’m told - an autohelm that speaks!” However Brayshaw added their success was down to trust and relying on each other. Both were delighted to be out on the water for the first time this season: “It was fantastic with people simply being able to sail and race and compete. And the standard seemed very high. It was very tight.”

Due to social distancing restrictions, no prizegiving was held.

Published in RORC
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After a great deal of work in conjunction with RYA Cymru Wales, and the Royal Dee Yacht Club, the IRC Welsh Championships will go ahead in a “stripped down” fashion but still provide challenging racing.

As Afloat previously reported here, the championships are slated for August 14-16.

To comply with UK government COVID-19 regulations some changes to the format are reflected in the Notice of Race (NOR) which can be downloaded below.

The main change, according to Mark Thompson, Rear Commodore of Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club is that all classes will use bridge starts, to avoid the need for committee boats and reduce the numbers of race management volunteers.

The 'bridge start' uses a race starter ashore in a dedicated start hut with a start line between the hut and an outfall buoy (dŵr Cymru)

The hut is known as “PSC Bridge” and reduces the need for committee boat and incorporates auto countdowns and timekeeping.

The championships will use one RIB for laying a mark to assist with course setting.

Thompson says the championships 'will be a more laid-back regatta, for competitors to get out on the water with friends and family and enjoy some fun racing, in a less formal way'.

Short handing sailing which is part of the revised regatta format is more demanding, so courses will be set with longer legs to allow for crew manoeuvrings!

The entry process is open, and the organisers have significantly reduced entry fees.

IRC 1 and 2

Racing from a Bridge Start (PSC Line) around the fixed marks, plus one Inflatable mark at the discretion of the race officer. The fixed courses may be used, and there may be a coastal race one day.

IRC 4

Cruisers scored using NHC racing one or two races per day around the fixed and geographical landmarks. Races may be two laps of the same course, scored as two races.

IRC Coastal Class

These races will be managed by ISORA and will race around the bay, 20-25 miles using both geographical landmarks, fixed and virtual marks. Timekeeping will be by YB tracker

Crew Numbers

As this is an “organised activity” we are able to take advantage of a Welsh Government regulation that allows us to have more than two households on a boat, but social distancing of 2 meters must be maintained between households. In order to facilitate this, and recognise its harder on some boats, the following crew numbers will be set to ensure fairness. This will be reviewed if new Regulations allow.

IRC boats – the IRC certificate crew number, divided by two (rounded down if applicable) plus 1.

Example: IRC crew number 7 would allow 4 crew on the boat

NHC Boats – 3 crew members for boats up to 9m and 4 above 9m

Thomason says the championships need to demonstrate that it is complying with regulations, and the above should facilitate this. This is similar to the formula used in Regattas currently held in England.

On the Pontoons

Again, this year berthing on the Plas Heli Pontoons is free for competitors during the event. Spaces are limited so it will be on a first-come basis. Please adhere to the pontoon protocol for the use of the pontoons.

On the Deck and Bar

Plas Heli will be open as normal, and we propose to not organise any formal social activity, but hope we can all enjoy the facilities for après sail

Jugs of beer will be provided for daily prizes, and just the perpetual trophies awarded to minimise costs allowing us to reduce our entry fees

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Despite a strong entry list from the United States and abroad including Ireland, and the exhaustive efforts of the New York Yacht Club along with the governing bodies for the ORC and IRC rating rules, the decision has been made to cancel the 2020 ORC/IRC World Championships, originally scheduled for Sept. 25 to Oct. 3 at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I.

As Afloat previously reported, at least two Irish Sea campaigns were scheduled for the championships. Former ISORA champion J109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox) was making the trip to the Big Apple and a second ISORA contender, Andrew Hall's Jackhammer, a J121, was also slated.

"The impact of the coronavirus has been felt throughout the sporting world," said Christopher J. Culver, Vice Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. "Given the challenges involved with shipping boats and teams to the United States from Europe and elsewhere and the lead time required for foreign teams to make a competitive run at this prestigious world title, we don't feel that a representative world championship is possible."

The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship was to bring top sailing teams from around the globe to battle on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay for one of three coveted world titles. The regatta would've been scored using a combination of the two most popular rating rules in the sport, ORC and IRC, and racing would've been a mix of around-the-buoys racing and longer, offshore courses.

The 2020 World Championships would've been the first time this regatta was held in the United States in two decades, and early interest exceeded expectations, with 50 boats from eight countries registering for the regatta before the COVID-19 pandemic put the sailing season in doubt.

"We are thankful to the organizers at the New York Yacht Club for all their efforts to attract a strong fleet to what would have been a memorable event,” said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. "This enthusiasm for high-level handicap racing we hope will continue in the US, and we look forward to being supportive in any way we can in the post-pandemic times ahead.”

"We are saddened to announce the cancellation of the ORC/IRC World Championships, long planned to be held in late September 2020 at the Newport base of the New York Yacht Club," said Michael Boyd, IRC Congress Chairman. "A large number of owners and crews will be very disappointed by our news, but will understand the many challenges posed by COVID-19 to the resumption of our sport, especially at the international level. We have also been conscious of the necessity to make a decision well in advance of the event.

"For some time, we have worked with a dedicated New York Yacht Club team and our ORC counterparts to ensure a memorable regatta, and we thank them for their professionalism and friendship. We were particularly enthusiastic about holding our joint Worlds in North America and in such a special location. We all look forward to the return of IRC yachts to race courses in North America and to getting together in Newport in more favourable times."

While the ORC/IRC World Championships was to be the penultimate event on the New York Yacht Club's 2020 sailing calendar, the Club remains hopeful it will be able to hold a handful of events during the second half of the summer and into the early fall. For the most up-to-date schedule and current regatta information, please visit the Club's website.

Published in ISORA
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The Welsh IRC Welsh Championships 2020, is scheduled to take place from Friday, August 14th to Sunday, August 16th. Despite the current restrictions, work is continuing from home on all of the organisational aspects of the championships, and we remain committed to running the event if at all possible.

Stephen Tudor - Championship Secretary said - “We continue to move forward with plans for the event and remain hopeful that by the time we get to mid-August - still four months' away - the necessity to socially distance ourselves will have reduced sufficiently so that we can run some great boat racing in Pwllheli, following an ISORA race over from Dún Laoghaire“ 

Planned Classes

In addition to our traditional two IRC classes and NHC cruiser class, we have added a new class for 2020, an offshore/coastal class racing coastal courses under IRC. This class will aim to race 20-35 mile courses, and the Saturday race will incorporate both the King Constantine Cup (a club race) and the Postponed ISORA coastal race, part of the Welsh Coastal series.

Should Government restrictions and guidance change, we can adapt some of our classes and racetrack styles, switching on or off various components with the minimum of lead time, and allowing us significant leeway - perhaps until the mid-July - before we need to make any big decisions.

The safety of participants and volunteers working behind the scenes is foremost in our minds of course, but providing that we can run an event that complies with all guidance in place at the time, then we fully intend to do so. I suspect there will be a lot of sailors desperate to get boats on the water by August!

Published in ICRA
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The RORC Rating Office team is working remotely and continuing to provide the excellent service expected from owners, clubs and the industry around the world. As all sailors are looking forward to when they’ll be able to get out on the water again after the imposed break, this is an ideal time to talk to your sailmaker, rigger or designer about any adjustments you could make to your boat and run an IRC trial to see the potential effect of the changes.

Until 31st May the RORC Rating Office is cutting the cost of IRC trial certificates by 25% for British owned boats holding a 2020 IRC certificate, and most IRC Rule Authorities whose certificates are issued by RORC will also be offering this discount.

In line with normal IRC policy we will continue to have a limitation on how many trials may be requested in the certificate year; please check the published policy on the IRC website at https://ircrating.org/irc-rule/. Trial certificates allow current certificate holders to investigate the potential effects of data changes without affecting their valid rating; if you do not yet hold a 2020 IRC certificate you will need to revalidate it first and this also provides you with the new rating as it may have changed with the 2020 software updates.

British-based owners should apply for their Spinlock IRC ratings online through the RORC Rating Office’s MyIRC online portal at https://myirc.rorcrating.com, while owners of boats based in other countries should contact their local IRC Rule Authority – in Ireland's case that's the Irish Sailing office.

Published in Scottish Waters
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Online entry has opened for the 2020 IRC European Championship which will take place in Cork Harbour, Ireland during Volvo Cork Week as part of the unique celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

The 2020 IRC European Championship will be held over five days of racing from Monday 13th July to Friday 17th July during the biennial Volvo Cork Week regatta. The championship is expected to attract a record fleet of highly competitive IRC rated boats vying for the overall win and class honours.

Last month, the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the world, launched its online entry system for the prestigious Volvo Cork Week 2020 regatta which will see hundreds of boats and thousands of yachtsmen and women from around the globe compete on the waters around Cork Harbour from July 13th – 17th.

On the 8th July, prior to Volvo Cork Week and the IRC European Championship, the Morgan Cup Race will start from Cowes, bound for Cork. Organised by the Royal Ocean Race Club since 1958, this will be the first time that the course has been set across the Celtic Sea to Cork. The 324nm race is expected to attract a substantial fleet. A new trophy for Line Honours has been donated by His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

Early entries for Volvo Cork Week show the amazing diversity of boats that will be celebrating the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s unique and historic celebration for the tricentennial. One of the most advanced racing yachts ever built will be in action as Irving Laidlaw returns to Volvo Cork Week with his Botin 56 Highland Fling 16. Niall & Olivia Dowling's Ker40+ Arabella is the first entry from the FAST40+ Class with half a dozen carbon flyers expected to be racing. David Collins IRC52 Tala will also be challenging in a red hot big boat fleet.

"Niall & Olivia Dowling's Ker40+ Arabella is the first entry from the FAST40+ Class"

A substantial fleet of classic yachts will be racing at Volvo Cork Week, the first entry has a history with the Royal Cork dating back over 100 years. David Aisher's 60ft George Wanhill designed classic Thalia raced for the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 1890. The 1720 Sportsboat Class is expected to have the largest fleet for many a year. The first entry was received from Conor Clarke who will be sailing under the burgee of the Royal Irish YC.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club has also received the first entries for the Beaufort Cup, open to sailing teams from all over the world representing their associated national services. The first Irish entry for the Beaufort Cup is Denis & Annamarie Murphy Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (RNLI Crosshaven). The first American entry is Ken Johnson's C&C 121 Grateful Red (US Army/ US Marines). The first British entry is the Royal Navy Sailing Association's J/109 Jolly Jack Tar, skippered by Philip Warwick.

Head of Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics, Wouter Verbaak has confirmed that Sevenstar Yacht Transport has partnered with Cork 300 and included special arrangements for yachts requiring shipping to Volvo Cork Week. “Cork has been made a special part of our USA, Med and Caribbean shipping logistics. Planned loading days from Southampton, UK to Cork, Ireland are between 16-30 June, 2020 with return loading days 20-27 July, 2020 in time for Cowes Week. We have FAST40+ yachts and classic yachts already in our plan, with space for more yachts wishing to compete at Volvo Cork Week,” confirmed Verbaak.

Published in Cork Harbour
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The 2020 IRC European Championship will be held at Cork Week as part of the unique celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

As Afloat previously back as 2016, the 5th edition of the IRC European Championship will take place in Cork Harbour over five days of racing from Monday 13th July to Friday 17th July 2020. The championship is expected to attract a record fleet of highly competitive IRC rated boats vying for the overall win and class honours.

On Wednesday 8th July, prior to the IRC European Championship, the Morgan Cup Race will start from Cowes, bound for Cork. Organised by the Royal Ocean Race Club (RORC) since 1958, this will be the first time that the course has been set across the Celtic Sea to Cork. The 324nm race is expected to attract a substantial fleet and will be a weighted race within the world's largest offshore racing programme, the RORC Season's Points Championship.

"With a large majority of Irish boats already holding IRC Endorsed certificates there is the prospect of many strong Irish entries"

"The Irish IRC fleet are highly competitive and with a large majority of Irish boats already holding IRC Endorsed certificates there is the prospect of many strong Irish entries," commented Director of Rating for IRC, Dr Jason Smithwick. "With this diverse range of boat types racing under the IRC rating system we have been working closely with the Royal Cork Yacht Club to create an exciting and varied race programme with a mixed range of courses. This balance of course types will allow all boats to have a chance and create a fair and interesting event for the competitors. The IRC rating offices have also been working with the organisers to have a thorough programme of equipment inspection to ensure good equipment control before and during the event," continues Smithwick.

Corinthian teams racing small and medium size boats have enjoyed tremendous success in the IRC European Championship. In 2016 the inaugural championship was hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht and was won overall by Royal Cork's Paul Gibbons racing Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge. For the last three championships French teams have won overall. The 2020 IRC European Championship will feature high performance boats, including a number of FAST40+ teams expected to be racing under IRC. Prizes are also awarded to the best Corinthian team, as well as individual IRC Classes.

Overall winners of the IRC European Championship

  • 2016 Paul Gibbons' Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge (Cork, Ireland)
  • 2017 Guy Claeys' JPK 10.10 Expresso 2 (Marseille, France)
  • 2018 Didier le Moal's J/112E J-Lance (Cowes, UK).
  • 2019 Yves Ginoux's Farr 36 Absolutely II (San Remo, Italy)

For the 2020 IRC European Championship, competitors will enjoy wide-ranging and competitive racing afloat, as well as the Royal Cork's unique and historic celebration of their tricentennial.

"We're delighted to welcome the IRC European Championships back in 2020 where the fleet will enjoy a varied programme of races set in and around Cork Harbour," commented Cork Week Director of Racing, Rosscoe Deasy. "Shorter racecourses will be specially laid outside of Roches Point, a wonderful sailing area with open sea conditions and stable winds, while the famous 'Harbour Race' will bring additional navigational and tactical challenges. A 10-14 hour 'Coastal Race' is planned along the treacherously beautiful Irish headlands, providing a demanding test of crew focus and endurance. Admittedly the real test will be found ashore in Crosshaven where only the stoutest of hearts will be able to resist the siren call of the legendary Cork Week craic. It's going to be a great event!"

Published in Cork Harbour
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