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Irish J24 competitors gathered at Foynes Yacht Club this past weekend for the Western Championships on the Shannon Estuary.

Saturday's races saw challenging conditions, with four races completed in 10 to 12 knots of breeze. Anticipating calm conditions on Sunday, participants were greeted with beautiful sunshine and a steady 6 to 9 knots of breeze, setting the stage for an exciting day of competition.

Derek Bothwell, the Race Officer, was praised for setting a perfect course of three laps of windward-leeward and efficiently finishing the race by shortening the course, allowing for a total of five races for the Westerns.

Headcase once again showcased an outstanding performance, securing first place and earning best wishes as they prepare for the J24 European Championships in Sardinia.

Racing downwind on the Shannon Estuary at Foynes Yacht Club for 2024 J24 Western honours Racing downwind on the Shannon Estuary at Foynes Yacht Club for 2024 J24 Western honours 

The Silver Fleet also celebrated as Hung Jury emerged victorious. The high standard of sailing displayed by all competitors was a joy to watch and drew accolades from spectators.

J24 Western Championships Race Officers Derek and Gaye Bothwell J24 Western Championships Race Officers Derek and Gaye Bothwell 

Acknowledgements were made to those who contributed to the event's success, including Derek and Gaye Bothwell for their exceptional Race Management, Mark Usher, President of the J24 Association, the FYC members for their assistance throughout the weekend, and Commodore Bev for organising a fantastic event. Special recognition was given to Pat Lawless for crafting the beautiful trophies, BCS Crane Hire for their exceptional service, and Shannon Foynes Port Company for their regular updates on Shipping.

As the weekend came to a close, sailors eagerly looked forward to the next event in Wicklow at the end of July.

Published in J24
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J/24 One Design keelboat enthusiasts are in for a treat as the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda (YCCS) teams up with the International and Italian J/24 Classes to host the J/24 European Championship in 2024.

The event is open to all J/24s and is scheduled from 10th to 16th June. The 2023 Irish 'Headcase' winners will defend their title in Porto Cervo.

As regular Afloat readers know, the story of the restored J/24 Headcase in recent years has been a particularly heart-warming one of all-Ireland camaraderie and success, and in August, the emphasis was firmly on international success with a final race victory to give a two-point win in the J/24 Europeans on Lake Balaton in Hungary, racing against 42 boats from eight nations.

The 2024 championship will officially open on the evening of 12th June with the Skippers' Briefing, followed by a Welcome Cocktail on the panoramic terrace at the YCCS.

The eagerly awaited event will comprise of a total of 10 races scheduled from 13th to 16th June, with a maximum of four races to be held each day. 

The YCCS is delighted to welcome a fleet that has contributed significantly to the popularity of sailing, and the championship will definitely be one of the most sought-after events of the 2024 season for the Class. 

Entries are now open and will be accepted until 10th April 2024.

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Cillian Dickson’s 'Headcase' of Ireland won the 23-boat Corinthian division at the J24 World Championships in Greece on Saturday, but a last race tilt for an overall podium place in the open championship saw the Irish drop from second to fourth when they scored a lowly 21st in race ten. 

The Corinthian title completes a successful summer for the Headcase crew, who lifted the J24 Euro title late last month in Hungary.

Keith Whittemore’s Furio of the USA, with team Willem van Waay, Marianne Schoke, Brian Thomas and Melanie Edwards, has been crowned 2023 J/24 World Champions.

Whittemore, who also won the 2019 J/24 World Championship in Miami, Florida, USA, ended this event with only 25 net points in the full 10-race series.

Cillian Dickson’s Headcase of Ireland are Corinthian J24 World Champions for 2023 Photo: Nikos PantisCillian Dickson’s Headcase of Ireland are Corinthian J24 World Champions for 2023 Photo: Nikos Pantis

After discarding a 19 from race seven, the Seattle, Washington-based helmsman kept scores in the top seven, including three bullets. Ignazio Bonanno’s La Superba of Italy compiled their reliable solid scores all week, winning two races, for 40 net points and the silver position. Tony Parker’s Bangor Packet, also of the USA, was in the hunt throughout the Championship, placing third overall with 52 net points. Parker has been sailing in the J/24 Class for all of its 45 years, and shipped his hull #58 to Greece.

Cillian Dickson’s Headcase of Ireland won the 23-boat Corinthian division, also placing fourth overall and tied on points with Parker. The crew included Ryan Glynn, Marcus Ryan, Louis Mulloy and Sam O'Byrne. The all-amateur podium comprised Stephan Mais’ Running Men of Germany and Alexandros Tagaropoulos’s Hellenic Police of Greece.

The IJCA awarded its perpetual Youth Turner Trophy to Papanikitas Spiridon-Eleftherios’s Hellenic Naval Academy.

Competitors revelled in gorgeous conditions for five days at the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki in Greece. Saturday’s race winner was Kohei Ichikawa’s Gekko Diana of Japan.

Top Three Overall:
1) Keith Whittemore, Furio, USA, 25 points
2) Ignazio Bonanno, La Superba, ITA, 40 points
3) Tony Parker, Bangor Packet, USA, 52 points

Top Three Corinthian:
1) Cillian Dickson, Headcase, IRL
2) Stephan Mais, Running Men, GER
3) Alexandros Tagaropoulos, Hellenic Police, GRE

Published in J24
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A win in race nine has put Cillian Dickson's sole Irish crew into the silver medal position with one race left to sail at the 35-boat J24 World Championships in Greece.

The recently crowned Irish Euro Champions have recovered from a U Flag result earlier in the series to count a stunning 2, 3, 1 on the penultimate day at the Nautical Club in Thessaloniki. 

Seattle's Keith Whittemore sailing Furio sustained his hold on first place, although it was feast or famine for the American team with a bullet and a 19 on the day (the 19th becoming their discard). They have 21 net points, now being chased by the Irish on 30. Ignazio Bonanno’s La Superba of Italy is lying third on 37.

Dickson’s 'Headcase' crew preserved their hold atop the 23-boat Corinthian division. Check them out leading to a mark at eight seconds on this Facebook vid timeline from Day three below.

Race eight began on schedule at 1500 local time on Friday; however, was twice abandoned due to 30-degree wind shifts shortly after the start. When finally underway, Whittemore’s Furio added their third victory of the Championship, ahead of Ignazio Bonanno’s La Superba of Italy. Multiple teams suffered BFD penalties in race 9, but thriving was Dickson’s Headcase taking line honours, plus Manolakis Antonios’s Aurora–Spanopoulos runner-up and Whittemore third. Day four vid highlights are below.

The final championship race will be sailed on Saturday.

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Ireland will defend its J24 European title at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Italy, next year.

With the 33rd edition of the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup now wrapped up (in which an Irish crew won Maxi Division A), work on the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's 2024 sporting calendar continues. 

From 10th to 16th June 2024, the European Championship for the J/24 class, one of the most popular one-design keelboats in the world, will be organised by the YCCS Association in Porto Cervo in association with the J/24 Class.

As regular Afloat readers know, the story of the restored J/24 Headcase in recent years has been a particularly heart-warming one of all-Ireland camaraderie and success, and in August, the emphasis was firmly on international success with a final race victory to give a two-point win in the J/24 Europeans on Lake Balaton in Hungary, racing against 42 boats from eight nations.

This week, the plucky Irish crew are contesting the World Championships in Greece, where day one saw a great start with two third places only to end with a UFD score in the third race as Afloat reports here

Published in J24
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Despite a promising start of two third places for Ireland's newest European sailing champions at this week's J24 World Championships, the Irish 'Headcase' crew suffered a setback on the final race of the opening day at Nautical Club Thessaloniki, Greece, when they scored a 'UFD'. 

The Cillian Dickson-led Corinthian crew are the sole Irish entry in the ten-nation event and are lying 11th overall in the 35-boat fleet. 

UFD means U-Flagged - a ruling where a boat is deemed to have prematurely started a race that is started under “U” Flag and is disqualified from that race and awarded the maximum number of points unless that race is subsequently restarted.

In a thrilling race to the finish, American sailor Keith Whittemore's boat 'Furio' held on to a narrow lead to emerge victorious in the first three races of the J/24 Class World Championship. The Championship, which marks the 45th anniversary of the event, saw sailors compete in ideal conditions of 8-10 knots and bright blue skies. The event was hosted by the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki in Greece and saw 35 boats participate, representing Argentina, Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and the United States.

Despite a strong start by Italian sailor Ignazio Bonanno's boat 'La Superba', which won the first race with style, Whittemore's 'Furio' soon took the lead, with two second-place finishes and a first-place finish in the final race. Bonanno's 'La Superba' held on to second place with 11 points, while Alexandros Tagaropoulos's 'Hellenic Police' of Greece came in third overall at 16 points, also topping the 20+ boat Corinthian division.

Dickson's 'Headcase' may have had an opening day setback, but he has already proved his mettle by winning the J/24 European Championship in Hungary just two weeks ago, as Afloat reported here.

Tony Parker's 'Bangor Packet' of the USA won the second race, with Whittemore and Dickson again runners-up.

Racing continues until Saturday. Results below.

Published in J24
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In the J24 national championship, where 20 boats compete as part of the ICRA National Championships at Howth, Kinsale Yacht Club's Under 25 crew on Kinsailor has lost its early lead to Bray Sailing Club's Hard On Port.

The one-design class was the only fleet to complete a single race on Friday's first day of racing, so it now has five results with any of six boats in the hunt for the title.

With two race wins, Hard on Port has eight points, with Kinsailor on 11. Third is Tadhg Loingsigh long travelled Janx Spirit from Tralee Bay Sailing Club on 12.

Racing contnoues on Sunday.

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The story of the restored J/24 Headcase in recent years has been a particularly heart-warming one of all-Ireland camaraderie and success, and in August the emphasis was firmly on international success with a final race victory to give a two-point win in the J/24 Europeans on Lake Balaton in Hungary, racing against 42 boats from eight nations.

Yet even with a team effort of this quality, we have to narrow the “Sailor of the Month” to one identifiable individual, and helmsman Cillian Dickson of Lough Ree YC and Howth YC has emerged as “The Face of Headcase”, spokesman for a close-knit yet multi-background squad which includes Marcus Ryan and Louis Mulloy of Mayo SC, Ryan Glynn of Ballyholme YC, and Sam O’Byrne of Howth YC

Published in Sailor of the Month
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A Lough Ree Yacht Club crew have been crowned J24 European champions after six races sailed in Hungary at the weekend.

The |rish Corinthian J24 crew of Headcase (and reigning Irish champions), skippered by Cillian Dickson, with Ryan Glynn, Marcus Ryan, Louis Mulloy and Sam O'Byrne, finished top of a 42-boat fleet by a margin of two points.

With eight nations, 42 boats and 210 competitors, the event took place over five days with five valid races out of the planned 10. Due to challenging wind conditions, no races were possible on the final day, so medals were awarded based on the standings from the fourth day.

Cillian Dickson, skippering Headcase, secured the European Championship title for Ireland. Schwere Jungs, led by Stefan Karsunke, claimed the silver medal for Germany. Meanwhile, Hungarian team iJroncat, helmed by Gábor Sallai, proudly took home the bronze. All three groups competed as all-amateur teams, among 37 of the total entries.

The fifth and last race day faced adverse wind conditions, reducing the Championship from the initially planned ten races to five. Thanks to the exceptional efforts of the Balatonfuredi Yacht Club's organisers and the Race Committee, led by Danish PRO Peter Lubeck, the event remained valid after five races and the possibility of one eliminated race.

The top 10 teams were awarded at the European Championship, with a special acknowledgement for the amateur category. Cillian Dickson, skipper of Headcase, expressed their happiness, exceeding expectations and prevailing in a highly competitive field. 

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The J24 Northern Championship, hosted by Mayo Sailing Club, saw 14 teams from around the country compete in six races over the weekend of 27th and 28th May. The event was raced in moderate winds and sunshine against the picturesque surroundings of Clew Bay.

The overall winner was Headcase, who scored four firsts and a second in the six races. The crew was Louis Mulloy, Marcus Ryan,  Cillian Dickson, Ryan Glynn and Ronan Armstrong.

The second place went to Janx Spirit, skippered by Tadgh O Loinsigh from Tralee Bay Sailing Club, who also finished second place to Headcase in the 2022 National Championships.

The third place was claimed by Hedgehog, sailed by Mark Usher and his crew from Greystones Sailing Club, improving on their fourth-place finish in the Western Championships at Lough Ree Yacht Club last month.

The J24 Northern Championship, hosted by Mayo Sailing Club

It was the first time Mayo Sailing Club have hosted the J24 fleet, and both the sailing and social side didn’t disappoint. The race committee, led by principal race officer Derek Bothwell, efficiently ran six races in good breeze and some challenging chop against the backdrop of a sunny Croagh Patrick.

Following lift-in and one slip-launched late-comer on Friday, crews were treated to a welcome feast of local Clew Bay mussels.

Live music and a great spread of Mediterranean-inspired food on Saturday evening went down well with sailors after a long day on the water in what could have been Costa del Mayo.

Four races were sailed on Saturday, with Headcase taking the first race win, followed by Hard on Port, helmed by Dave Bailey, in second and Hedgehog in third. Hedgehog excelled again in race 2, taking the race win in lighter breeze, with Janx Spirit in second and Jelignite in third.

The J24 Northern Championship, hosted by Mayo Sailing Club

The final two races of the day saw Headcase, Hard on Port, and Janx Spirit share the podium, leaving Headcase with a narrow overnight lead, ahead of HoP and Janx.

Day 2 was raced in a shifty offshore breeze. Headcase, HoP and Janx broke away from the rest of the fleet in race 5, trading places around the first lap before the tricky conditions allowed them to be reeled back in. Headcase held on for the race win, wrapping up the event with a race to spare to the delight of local spectators. Class stalworth JP McCauldin on Il Riccio got in for second place, with Diarmuid Mullen on Smugairle Roin finishing strongly to take third.

The breeze remained challenging for the final race, which Hedgehog lead around the course, only to be passed by Headcase on the final cross of the race. That result was still enough to secure a third overall for Hedgehog behind Janx Spirit. HoP dropped to 6th after a tough day which saw them retire from both races on day 2.

The J24 fleet would like to thank Mayo Sailing Club and all the volunteers for their warm welcome and hope not to leave it so long to return to Clew Bay.

Speaking after the event, the crew of Headcase said that they were delighted to get some very competitive racing under their belts in their last Irish J24 event of 2023. Their plans for the rest of the Summer see them bringing Headcase on an Odyssey to the Aegean Sea, challenging for the European Championships on the way in Lake Balaton, Hungary, in August before taking on the World Championships in Thessaloniki, Greece, in early September.

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