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Over sixty yachts and cruisers will be hauled out of the water at Dun Laoghaire Harbour tomorrow as the 2021 summer season ends at Ireland's biggest boating centre. 

The National Yacht Club and neighbouring Royal St. George YC will lift out approximately 30 cruisers apiece using a mobile crane. 

The boats will overwinter on the hardstanding at the waterfront clubhouses, where space is at a premium.

It's not the end of all sailing by any means, however. A winter Turkey Shoot Series run by DBSC that attracts up to 70 boats, mainly from the town marina, is scheduled to start on Nov 7th, and the DMYC Dinghy Frostbite Series will run in harbour racing until March.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour sailor Justin Burke was racing in the IRC B division of last weekend's postponed Spi Ouest Regatta and received a warm welcome in Brittany. 

Burke of the National Yacht Club, a champion SB20 and Flying Fifteen sailor, recently acquired a JPK 10.30 and used Spi Ouest as a shakedown on the new boat, including its short-handed options.

"I'm very taken by Brittany. Beautiful scenery, lovely food and a great attitude to sailing. The weather helps a lot, but above all the people. We have met a lot of like-minded locals".

Burke says the emphasis is very much on sailing rather than the bar afterwards and was somewhat surprised to come across quite a lot of older boats, including an old Shamrock. All the vintage boats were well kitted out with new sails and all "slickly sailed", he says.

Burke's plan is to return to France, (where there are reasonably priced flights to Nantes from Ireland) and race Spi Ouest regatta again in the Spring of 2022. He'll decide then if he leaves his new boat 'Das Boot' in Brittany or brings her home to Dun Laoghaire.

He told Afloat, "there's great energy and a lot is going on in Brittany". He has been invited to join a local training session for short-handed sailing.

More on Spi Ouest regatta here

Published in National YC
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John Patrick (left) from Belfast Sailability was the winner of the  2.4mR National Championships held at the National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour at the weekend.

A small fleet of five competitors (from a total fleet of eight boats in the country) raced for both Open and Para titles. 

The National's Ed Totterdell was the Race Officer with four races sailed on Saturday and two on Sunday, all inside the harbour.

The open event was won by John Patrick from Belfast Sailability with Patrick Hassett in second and Oisin Putt in third place both from NYC.

The Para event was won by Patrick with Oisin second.

John Patrick (right) from Belfast Sailability was the winner of the Open Division of the  2.4mR Nationals held at Dun Laoghaire Harbour and receives his prize from National Yacht Club Commodore Conor O’ReganJohn Patrick (right) from Belfast Sailability was the winner of the Open Division of the  2.4mR Nationals held at Dun Laoghaire Harbour and receives his prize from National Yacht Club Commodore Conor O’Regan

Patrick Hassett (right) is congratulated by National Yacht Club Commodore Conor O’Regan for his overall win of the 2.4mR Nationals (Para division) at Dun Laoghaire HarbourPatrick Hassett (right) is congratulated by National Yacht Club Commodore Conor O’Regan for his overall win of the 2.4mR Nationals (Para division) at Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Published in National YC
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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

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

The National Yacht Club's under 30 membership is making waves on European waters over the coming weeks.

As Afloat reported earlier, over in Palma, Spain, NYC's Will Byrne is currently competing on the Club Swan 50 'Mathilde' at the 39th Copa del Rey. This event attracts some of the top sailors worldwide, and the team currently lies 10th overall after a strong start to the final series of races.

The Dun Laoghaire Harbour club's U25 Team are heading off to their first event this weekend to compete in the J/24 National Championships in Sligo Yacht Club. The skipper Mark O'Connor hopes for a good result against a strong fleet that includes U25 teams from rival clubs.

With an increased interest in offshore sailing among younger members, Oisin Cullen, Conor Totterdell, Conor Corson, and Saoirse Reynolds are all participating in the world-famous Fastnet Race.

This year's edition of the race concludes in Cherbourg for the first time, increasing the overall distance by 15% to 695nm. Oisin and Saoirse will be taking on the race for a second time on Simon Harris’s J/112e 'J’Ouvert' in IRC2. Conor Corson will be on the bow of the A13 'Phosphorus II' in IRC1, while Conor Totterdell is co-skippering Irish Offshore Sailing Schools Sunfast 37 'Desert Star'.

Published in National YC
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Royal Ulster's 'man on a mission' John Minnis lived up to his pre-championship word and delivered a perfect scoreline to win the Beneteau 31.7 Irish National Championships 2021 at the National Yacht Club this afternoon with five straight wins. 

The Gareth Flannigan helmed Northern Ireland entry was chased hard on Dublin Bay by the host club's Chris Johnston in Prospect.

The local crew counted four second places in the two-day championships. 

Michael Blaney's After You Too from the Royal St. George Yacht club finished third overall.

Chris Johnston's Prospect was second overallChris Johnston's Prospect was second overall

Spurred on by their winnings at the Scottish Series in May, when Final Call won Class 3 convincingly and lifted the Causeway Cup for the best performance by a boat-based outside Scotland.

15-20-knot winds proved to be testing championship conditions for the 10-boat fleet over the three day event.

Michael Blaney's After You Too from the Royal St. George Yacht club finished third overall.Michael Blaney's After You Too from the Royal St. George Yacht club finished third overall.

The same south-easterly breeze continued on Sunday with a good chop in the south of the Bay where the Beneteau 31.7s shared a course with the Ruffians, also racing for national championship honours.

Results are here.

2021 Beneteau 31.7 National Championship Photo Gallery

Published in Beneteau 31.7

Six wins from eight races was a conclusive result for Ann Kirwan and her Bandit crew to claim the 2021 Ruffian 23 National Championship title off Dun Laoghaire Harbour this afternoon.

As Afloat reported earlier, Kirwan lead going into the final two races and today the National Yacht Club crew expanded their overnight margin from four to six points over Royal St George rival Stephen Gill sailing Shannagh who finished as runners-up on 14 points.

Royal St. George Yacht Club winner Stephen Gill sailing Shannagh was runner upRoyal St. George Yacht Club winner Stephen Gill sailing Shannagh was runner up

Third in the ten boat fleet was Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club's Ruffles (Michael Cutliffe).

Ruffles (Michael Cutliffe) was third overallRuffles (Michael Cutliffe) was third overall

15-20-knot winds proved to be testing championship conditions for the 10-boat fleet over the three day event.

The same south-easterly breeze continued on Sunday with a good chop in the south of the Bay where the Ruffians shared a course with the Beneteau 31.7s, also racing for national championship honours.

Results are here.

2021 Ruffian 23 National Championship Photo Gallery

Published in National YC
Tagged under

The only competitor in the nine-strong fleet from the Northern waters and the only Beneteau 31.7 from outside Dun Laoghaire, John Minnis's Final Call, has made the long haul south for the National Championships at the National Yacht Club this weekend.

Spurred on by their winnings at the Scottish Series, when Final Call won Class 3 convincingly and lifted the Causeway Cup for the best performance by a boat-based outside Scotland (other than the Series winner), Minnis is a man with a mission.

With the same hotshot helm in Gareth Flannigan, he has high hopes,"We're there for the win" he says. Time will tell.

John Minnis from Royal Ulster has high hopes on Dublin Bay John Minnis from Royal Ulster has high hopes on Dublin Bay

Most of the crew is from Royal Ulster. On Trim are Jeff Flannigan and the Strangford Lough YC sailor, Michael Ennis who was in Shaun Douglas's Game Changer crew in the d2d race.

Tactician is Mickey (Chunky) Ferguson (who has MoD70 racing and the Transat Jacques Vabre under his belt), Mast - Richard Gunning, Foredeck -Tom Finlay and Michael Gunning on main. John himself is in the pit.

Published in National YC

Track the progress of the 2021 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Yacht Race fleet below here on the live tracker when the race starts at 2 pm on Wednesday, June 9th from Dublin Bay.

Read the full 2021 race preview by WM Nixon here.  

Read all the D2D Race News in one handy link here

WM Nixon will be posting regular race updates during the race

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle
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