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Saturday 11 June, Cowes: A further three windward-leewards were held on the central-eastern Solent on day two of the RORC’s IRC National Championship in yet more exceptional conditions - 15-20 knot WSW winds and brilliant sunshine.

At this regatta - one of the top international titles under the RORC/UNCL-owned rating system - the fleet is split into three classes according to their speed (or TCC rating). After day two significant leaders have emerged in all three, but by the end of tomorrow to be determined will be the 23rd IRC National Champion (since the first in 1999). A published formula determines the outright winner and at present, with the discard applied, Adam Gosling’s JPK 10.80 Yes! leads Niklas Zennström's Rán and John Cooper’s Cape 31 Fanatic, separated by just a fraction of a point. 

Today Rán scored a further three bullets in Grand Prix Zero/IRC One. With a perfect scoreline, it is hard to see what more the team, which includes world-class pros such as Tim Powell, Steve Hayles and Justin Slattery, can do to claim the title. In today’s second race, they were called OCS, returned to restart…and still won. However, the IRC One fleet is smaller than the other two, requiring its leader to work harder to claim the title.

Seven points astern of Rán is Ian Atkins’ GP42 Dark N Stormy and two further points back is the Ker 40+ Elvis of Swede Filip Engelbert. According to Dutch legend and tactician Bouwe Bekking, Elvis is suffering from some rust, having not sailed for some time: “In three races we were in the lead, but we had some mechanical issues (spinnaker drop line breakage) and with our manoeuvres – a wine glass in the spinnaker (in the second race).”

Bekking has raced under many different rating systems and appreciates IRC: “I think it is very good when you have similar boats. Generally, it works out nicely – here Rán is a little faster but it works out pretty well and we are all so close so you know who is first while you are on the water.”

Nicholas Griffith's IC37 Icy Photo: Rick TomlinsonNicholas Griffith's IC37 Icy Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Fargo - Robert Bicket's IC37 Photo: Rick TomlinsonFargo - Robert Bicket's IC37 Photo: Rick Tomlinson

A race within a race is taking place between the two IC37s, Nick Griffith’s Icy and Robert Bicket’s Fargo. Icy got the upper hand today. “It was a great day sailing - perfect conditions - arguably some of the best racing I have done in the Solent in a very long time,” commented Griffith, MD of yacht sales and brokerage conglomerate Ancasta Group. “We had great racing between the two IC37s - both boats had a number of 49er sailors in their crew who, not surprisingly, were very competitive. It was great fun to watch.”

In IRC Two, John Cooper’s Cape 31 Fanatic comfortably leads, but today’s best performance was the 2-1-5 of Lance Adams’ Katabatic ending the day six points off the lead and with Tony Dickin’s Jubilee, winner of today’s first race, one point behind. This trio now holds an eight point cushion from Michael Blair’s King 40 Cobra, which was second in today’s final race.

Like Rán, Katabatic was called OCS in race two today but nonetheless claimed the bullet. Adams felt their results today came down to…“getting in the groove on the upwinds in the chop, so we were in contention. We have been working on different ideas and they worked today.” Generally racing for Katabatic at this IRC Nationals has been superb. “The Cape fleet is something else. And what an amazing two days we’ve had: Wind, sun, clear skies - you couldn’t ask for more.”

Ex-Commodore/Admiral of the RORC Andrew McIrvine’s La Réponse on which former RORC CEO Eddie Warden Owen is calling tactics, scored a bullet in today’s last race, leaving the grey hulled Ker 39 sixth overall.

“We had a good start, in the middle - in fact it was quite difficult to get across the line on starboard,” recounted McIrvine. “We carried on while our main enemy - Sailplane and Cobra - went right. We had a couple of nice shifts which got us into the lead. Then we were going really fast and deep downwind, fast enough to stay ahead of the planing Capes. Considering we’ve had very little practice, we had some very good crew work with nice gybes. I am pleased we sailed yesterday before it got even windier today, because it was quite a handful.” 

Lance Adams' Cape 31 Katabatic Photo: Rick TomlinsonLance Adams' Cape 31 Katabatic Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Andrew McIrvine's Ker 39 La Réponse Photo: Rick TomlinsonAndrew McIrvine's Ker 39 La Réponse Photo: Rick Tomlinson

In IRC Three Adam Gosling’s race favourite Yes! holds a four point lead over James Chalmers’ J/112e Happy Daize, both having displaced the day one leader, John Smart’s J/109 Jukebox. Happy Daize posted 3-3-3 today. “We had a good day - the boat is going well and it is nice to be in touch with Yes! We had some great tacking and gybe duels with them,” said Chalmers. Having campaigned the J/35 Bengal Magic for years, Chalmers has noticed how competitive the IRC Nationals’ smallest fleet has become: “Everything has got closer: We are closer to Yes! and staying ahead of the slower boats is so difficult. It is great racing - you make a mistake and you pay for it.”

In a new development for the IRC Nationals, extra youth and female crew are permitted to race on board. As a result Chalmers’ 12-year-old son is on board for the first time.

Also on a steep learning curve are the inner city students from the Greig City Academy on Cote. Their tweaky Quarter Tonner is proving a handful and today they suffered a prolonged broach. “It is a great learning experience,” commented jib and spinnaker trimmer Christopher Frederick, who is in his 12th year at the school in Haringey, well known for its pioneering sailing program initiated by Jon Holt. Frederick is in year 12 but tries to sail every moment he can, both at the weekends and Laser dinghy sailing during the week in London. 

J/112e Happy Daize sailed by James Chalmers Photo: Rick Tomlinson J/112e Happy Daize sailed by James Chalmers Photo: Rick Tomlinson 

Quarter Tonner Cote sailed by the young sailors from London's Greig City Academy based in Haringey Photo: Rick TomlinsonQuarter Tonner Cote sailed by the young sailors from London's Greig City Academy based in Haringey Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Final day of the IRC National Championship is tomorrow (Sunday), forecast to take place in marginally lighter conditions.

Full results can be found here

Published in RORC
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Among the lineup on the Solent this weekend for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s IRC National Championship is the Cape 31 Antix, skippered by Royal Cork's Anthony O’Leary, who won the IRC Nationals in 2014.

And it looks like the fleet is due for some lively racing. The wind is forecast to be gusting into the mid-20s.

As usual for this leading championship for the RORC/UNCL-owned yacht rating system, the fleet is a diverse one. The longest and highest rated is the Ker 46 Van Uden (IRC TCC: 1.284), her Dutch crew led by round the world sailor Gerd-Jan Poortman, while lowest rated in IRC Three is Kevin Downer's heavily modified Fun 23 Ziggy (IRC TCC of 0.871). 

The 24th UK IRC National Championship will take place in the Solent from 10-12th June 2022 Photo: Paul WyethThe 24th UK IRC National Championship will take place in the Solent from 10-12th June 2022 Photo: Paul Wyeth

Kevin Downer's Fun 23 Ziggy is competing in IRC Three Photo: Paul WyethKevin Downer's Fun 23 Ziggy is competing in IRC Three Photo: Paul Wyeth

Gerd-Jan Poortman will lead the Dutch team on the Ker 46 Van Uden Photo: Paul WyethGerd-Jan Poortman will lead the Dutch team on the Ker 46 Van Uden Photo: Paul Wyeth

The top end of the fleet is an international one, with Van Uden joined by Solent regulars, the de Graaf family, aboard their Ker 43 Baraka GP, while from Sweden are Filip Engelbert’s Ker 40+ Elvis and Niklas Zennström’s Carkeek 40 Ràn VII. All are in IRC One which is effectively the new Grand Prix Zero class for this event, catering for grand prix racing yachts of 37-50ft, or specifically in this case, the two Dutch Kers to the two IC37s, Robert Bicket's Fargo and Nick Griffith's Icy.

While Ràn VII is considered favourite in the Grand Prix Zero class, nipping at her heels this weekend will be Dark N Stormy, the GP42 better known from the FAST40+ as Jubilee, now campaigned by well-known industry figure Ian Atkins. The aim of Grand Prix Zero is to reignite racing under IRC at this size range both in the UK and abroad. Atkins explains that he and Class Manager Nick Bonner “looked around and counted 13 highly competitive, well sailed boats between 40-50ft and said ‘let’s create a framework for them to operate within’.” The formula is working: It has encouraged Elvis back out on to the water, while at the Vice Admiral’s Cup, the racing could not have been more competitive. “We won one race by one second and lost another by two seconds - it is really is great racing,” Atkins recalls.

Nick Griffith's IC37 Icy racing in IRC One Photo: Rick TomlinsonNick Griffith's IC37 Icy racing in IRC One Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Niklas Zennström’s Carkeek 40 Ràn VII Photo: Paul Wyeth Niklas Zennström’s Carkeek 40 Ràn VII Photo: Paul Wyeth 

Filip Engelbert’s Ker 40+ Elvis Photo: Paul WyethFilip Engelbert’s Ker 40+ Elvis Photo: Paul Wyeth

IRC Two class sees a mix of Performance 40s and nine Cape 31s. The former fleet is being led by ex-RORC Admiral and Commodore Andrew McIrvine’s Ker 39 La Réponse and includes long term campaigners the Blair family on their King 40 Cobra; Jean-Eudes Renier and Rob Bottomley on the MAT 12 Sailplane; plus from Belgium, Jan Gabriel’s Mills 37 Ragazza IV and the pair of First 40s, Ronan Banim's Galahad of Cowes and Richard Powell’s Rogan Josh. 

Aside from being the one design ‘of the moment’, the South African-born Cape 31 began its life on UK shores competing in the IRC fleet. One of its objectives is success both as a one design and under corrected time within a broader fleet. One of the hot Cape 31s competing is Michael Bartholemew’s Tokoloshe 4, the present runaway leader of the UK circuit after three events and class winner at May’s Vice Admiral’s Cup. Among the Cape 31 line-up is also Antix, sailed by well known Irishman Anthony O’Leary, who won the IRC Nationals in 2014 with his Ker 39 (now La Réponse). New faces in the fleet this weekend will include Charlie Whelan on Jubilee and Richard Davies on Gallivanter III. 

IRC Two - Jan Gabriel’s Mills 37 Ragazza IV Photo: Paul WyethIRC Two - Jan Gabriel’s Mills 37 Ragazza IV Photo: Paul Wyeth

Adam Gosling's JPK 10.80 Yes! Adam Gosling's JPK 10.80 Yes! Photo: Paul Wyeth

Due to the egalitarian nature of IRC, winners are as likely to be among the big boats as the small, and among the latter in IRC Three are two past IRC National Championship winners. Adam Gosling jointly won in 2016 aboard his then new JPK 10.80 Yes! Surprisingly, having owned a JPK 11.80 in the interim, he returns in the same boat having re-acquired her during lock-down. “It is better than an old girlfriend because this is as good as I remember it!” quips Gosling. In fact, of the many boats he has owned, this was also one of his most successful having also won the Round the Island Race’s Gold Roman Bowl in 2017. The Yes! crew has remained the same for the last three seasons says Gosling. This could be the year when they rectify their semi-win from six years ago. “It will come down to whoever sails best and if it is light the smaller boats may benefit and, if there’s breeze, the big boats can get away a bit.”

John Howell and Paul Newell’s A-35 Arcus Photo: Paul WyethJohn Howell and Paul Newell’s A-35 Arcus Photo: Paul Wyeth

While the 1.061 IRC TCC for Yes! makes her speediest yacht in IRC Three, she will face a challenge from another more recent outright IRC Nationals winner. John Howell and Paul Newell’s A-35 Arcus claimed the title, mid-lockdown in 2020. On that occasion, Arcus was new to the team made up of several father-son duos, whose origins are on Great More Sailing Club in Buckingham.

“We have moved forward - we have learned a lot about the boat,” says Newell of how they have progressed. “We have tried to optimise her a little bit more, which hopefully will pay dividends. We have also tried to do a bit of training rather than just racing.” To this end, they have upped their game with input from renowned coach Mark Rushall. “His input was just invaluable. If we can capture some of that and can convert it on the water…” muses Newell. Aside from becoming IRC National Champions, Hamble-based Arcus has come close to winning Black Group at Cowes Week. “We like to surprise people because we are a bunch of puddle sailors from the middle of the country.”

Racing will get underway with a first warning signal on Friday at 1125 and at 1025 on Saturday and Sunday.

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One of the pinnacle events of the IRC rating system in the UK will take place over 10-12 June from Cowes and Ireland's past victories are recalled as Anthony O'Leary's former winner, the Ker 40 Antix, is racing in the hands of former Commodore and Admiral of the RORC Andrew McIrvine as his latest La Réponse.

This year’s edition of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s IRC National Championship will be its 24th and as usual will feature a mixed line-up of yachts from across the size and age spectrum, allowing the IRC rating system to create a level playing field between them.

World-class PRO, double Olympic Finn sailor and Etchells World Champion Stuart Childerley (and recently appointed J Class Secretary) will send the IRC fleets off on courses around the Solent with up to four races scheduled each day.

The fleet is divided into tightly-banded classes according to their IRC rating to provide the closest possible racing for competitors between yachts of similar performance. The unique format of the IRC National Championship enables any yacht from across the fleet - big or small, old or new - whose crew sails the best, to be crowned IRC National Champion.

"the nation to have prised the IRC Nationals trophy from British hands the most often has been Ireland"

In addition to the regulars of the Solent IRC fleet, the RORC’s IRC National Championship represents the ultimate event to which competitors in the well-supported IRC regional events around the UK aspire. It is a great event to measure up to other competitors around the country and for developing crews to sharpen their skills in a friendly and competitive environment. The three-day event also regularly attracts competitors from the opposite side of the English Channel: Géry Trentesaux’s IMX40 Courrier Nord claimed the top prize in 2002, the first foreign yacht to do so, while the syndicate-owned A-35 Dunkerque - Les Dunes de Flandres was joint winner in 2016.

But the nation to have prised the IRC Nationals trophy from British hands the most often has been Ireland: David Dywer’s Mills 39 Marinerscove. It is only one of two teams ever to have won consecutive UK IRC National Championship titles when his team prevailed in both 2009 and 2010 (the first was Justin Slawson’s X-362 The Big Cheese over 2000-01).

In fact, Irish IRC yachts have won the UK IRC National title on four other occasions too: Royal Irish's Colm Barrington’s Ker 39 Flying Glove in 2005; Tim Costello’s all-conquering Mills 40 Tiamat in 2006 and Conor and Denise Phelan’s Ker 37 Jump Juice from Royal Cork two years later. The last Irish winner was RCYC's Anthony O'Leary’s Antix in 2014, whose grey Ker 40 returns this year in the hands of former Commodore and Admiral of the RORC Andrew McIrvine as his latest La Réponse (following his successful First 40 of the same name now on Dublin Bay).

“The IRC National Championship remains the most important inshore event for IRC-rated boats in the UK,” observes McIrvine, who has been a regular competitor at the event since it was first held. “The Solent of course is internationally-recognised as one of the most complex and interesting places to race - so the combination remains very attractive.”

“The IRC National Championship remains the most important inshore event for IRC-rated boats in the UK,” says Andrew McIrvine, whose Ker 40 La Réponse (Anthony O'Leary's former winner, the Ker 40 Antix) will be taking part Photo: Paul Wyeth“The IRC National Championship remains the most important inshore event for IRC-rated boats in the UK,” says Andrew McIrvine, whose Ker 40 La Réponse (Anthony O'Leary's former winner, the Ker 40 Antix) will be taking part Photo: Paul Wyeth

Derek Shakespeare's J/121 Bulldog previously won the IRC National Champion title twice Photo: Rick TomlinsonDerek Shakespeare's J/121 Bulldog previously won the IRC National Champion title twice Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Lena Having's Corby 33 Mrs FrecklesLena Having's Corby 33 Mrs Freckles Photo: Paul Wyeth

Adam Gosling's JPK 10.80 Yes! won IRC Three in the 2021 IRC Nationals and will be back to retain their title Adam Gosling's JPK 10.80 Yes! won IRC Three in the 2021 IRC Nationals and will be back to retain their title Photo: Paul Wyeth

As usual, the RORC is attempting to be inclusive, by encouraging female and youth participation in its championship. If an IRC Nationals crew includes at least two women or under 25-year-olds (or one of each), then two extra crew can be added to the maximum number of the crew stated on their yacht’s IRC Certificate (with no weight restriction).

While the majority of IRC National Champions have been the latest and best race boats, this is not always the case. In 2017 it was the turn of the 1939 classic Whooper of leading racing yacht engineer Giovanni Belgrano to claim the title.

Since then J/Boats have enjoyed considerable success. When the IRC Europeans temporarily replaced the IRC Nationals on the Solent in 2018, it was the J/112e of France’s Didier le Moal that came out on top.

Most recently the IRC National Champion title has been won twice by the J/122 campaigned by Stuart Sawyer’s Falmouth-based team, Black Dog - first in 2019 and then again in 2021. While Sawyer isn’t returning this year, his boat is, now renamed Bulldog and campaigned by the RORC’s Treasurer, Derek Shakespeare.

“The IRC Nationals is a very prestigious event and something a lot of very good teams strive to win,” maintains Shakespeare, who recently achieved his first success with his new-to-him yacht when she won IRC One in the RORC’s De Guingand Bowl. 

Despite the provenance of Bulldog, Shakespeare is under no illusion of his prospects in two weeks: “I wouldn’t be as arrogant to assume that we are going to go and win the IRC Nationals with a newish team - we are not expecting to reach those heady heights straight out of the box. We have a nice mix of ages and experience on the boat. We are campaigning both inshore and offshore this year whereas I believe Stuart was more of an inshore specialist. For us the IRC Nationals will be an important measurement of our progress.”

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24th November 2021

IRC 2022 Rule Text Published

Following the international IRC annual Congress meeting in October, the 2022 IRC rule text is now published online.

The new rule text includes the following changes agreed by Congress: Stored power (autopilots) for steering is prohibited unless permitted by the relevant notice of race (rule 15.2); IRC measurement condition for boat weight now explicitly includes permanently installed renewable energy features such as solar panels etc. (rule 17.1), and a spar used as a whisker pole to set a headsail or flying headsail only requires declaration if used to leeward (rule 21.3.6). The 2022 IRC rule applies from 1st January 2022, except in countries with June-May validity where the rule will apply from 1st June 2022.

A proposed rule change from Australia to allow a boat to hold two concurrent valid certificates for different configurations was agreed in principle. A pilot scheme will be developed to be tested in Australia and other southern hemisphere countries during 2022, with a view to worldwide rollout if it proves successful.

2022 IRC Rule text and more information about the rule changes here

 

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The Shannon Estuary's RWYCI October Series concluded this weekend on the 30th of October. The series had scheduled races over the first four Sundays and the final Saturday in October.

Racing was cancelled due to bad weather on the first weekend, the series got underway on week two in sunshine and light north-westerly winds of 6-10 knots, under the excellent race management of Aoife Lyons and David Vinnell.

The on-the-water team got in three races in each class with windward-leeward courses for the spinnaker fleet and triangular courses for the white sails fleet.

In the spinnaker fleet, it was Tadhg O'Loingsigh and crew on their J24, Janx Spirit topping the spinnaker fleet in both ECHO and IRC. In white sails the very impressive traditional sailing craft, Sally O'Keeffe, built by Steve Morris and operated by Seol Sionna, won race one, and race three was won by Pat O'Shea's Malo 36, Amergin, however, Elaine O'Mahoney & Simon McGibney's newly acquired First 265 lead the class after week one with a 2nd – 1st – 2nd.

Diarmuid O'Donovan's J/24 Yachtzee crew were the IRC winners of the Royal Western Yacht Club October Series winnersSeries organiser Simon McGibney (left) with Diarmuid O'Donovan's J/24 Yachtzee crew, the IRC winners of the Royal Western Yacht Club October Series 

On the third Sunday of racing, OOD's Aoife Lyons and David Vinnell, ran two races in beautiful sunshine with a southerly 10-12 knots. In the spinnaker fleet Janx Spirit continued their great form with a further two wins in IRC while Rob Allen's Corby 25 lead the spinnaker fleet in ECHO. In white sails, Adrian O'Connell on his modified Seawolf 26 claimed two wins to put pressure on the leaders.

With another weekend cancelled due to weather, the final weekend of racing took place on the last Saturday of the month, in this enjoyable series. There was plenty of wind from the south-west and luckily the rain held off during the mid-afternoons racing. White sails completed their full schedule of races with another two races, both won by Fintan Keating's Halberg Rassy, Passade, who enjoyed the heavier winds. The spinnaker fleet added three more races to their series with two wins for the Corby 25, Smile and a race win for Ray McGibney's J24, Lady J in ECHO and two wins for Diarmuid O'Donovan's J/24 Yachtzee, with Smile taking the final race win in IRC.

At the overall prize-giving event on Saturday evening event organiser, Simon McGibney thanked all the volunteers especially the OOD's David and Aoife for superb racecourses and efficient running of races each week. 

Overall results:

  • Spinnaker IRC: 1st Yachtzee, 2nd Janx Spirit, 3rd Smile
  • Spinnaker ECHO: 1st Smile, 2nd Yachtzee, 3rd Janx Spirit
  • White Sails: 1st Lucita, 2nd Sally O'Keeffe, 3rd Amergin

Full results here

Published in Shannon Estuary

There appears to be no de-escalation of the long-festering row between IRC and the ORC that spilt out into the public domain this week.

The World's two leading rating administrators are locked into a war of words over the staging of the 2022 World Championships.

The latest is an admission from ORC that in its opinion the combined ORC/IRC event in 2018 in The Hague that featured averaging scores in ORC and IRC, was a 'failed solution'.

A World Sailing Offshore Committee has been silent since the matter aired this week. The governing body is scheduled to meet today and there's likely just one item at the top of the agenda but even then, it's not clear if any oil can be poured on these troubled waters via this virtual meeting. 

Bruno Finzi of the ORCBruno Finzi of the ORC

Meanwhile, Bruno Finzi of the ORC has responded to Michael Boyd's Tuesday 'shocked and disappointed' IRC salvo with a 2023 olive branch? Full statement below: 

Statement below from Bruno Finzi and the ORC Management Committee in response to yesterday's IRC press release:

We are sorry the IRC Board has expressed shock and disappointment about our decision with YCCS to issue the Notice of Race for next year's ORC Worlds and chosen to misrepresent our dialogue in their press release.

An email was sent on 4 October explaining to them our frustration over their insistence to replicate what we knew was a failed solution of averaging scores in ORC and IRC, as done in 2018 in The Hague. The feedback from the sailors at this event was very negative, and even the minutes of the 2021 IRC Congress admits this as well.

We feel we need to listen to the sailors on what is acceptable to them and not use an ineffectual scoring solution based purely on politics. Our proposal of using ORC scoring for inshore races and IRC scoring for offshore races seems the appropriate solution and we still believe would be acceptable to the constituency.

We, therefore, fail to see why the decision by YCCS and ORC to issue the ORC Worlds 2022 Notice of Race on 21 October could be a surprise: this is only 8 months prior to the start of this event. We also informed them of this on 4 October, their IRC Board meeting was on 6 October, and the IRC Congress was held on 16 October, and yet we still heard nothing from them before our announcement.

Regardless, we are available to re-engage in these discussions for a combined ORC/IRC event in 2023.

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London's Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) is considering staging its own separate IRC World Championships to "preserve the rights of sailors using our rating system" following a rival ORC decision last week to launch its separate championship in 2022. 

The international war of words broke out between the two leading yacht rating systems over the proposed scrapping of a previously 'agreed' combined World Championships for 2022. 

In a statement, IRC Board Chairman Michael Boyd says: "It appears that ORC has no wish to honour our shared commitment to hold joint World Championships made at the World Sailing Annual Meeting in Barcelona in 2016. We hope that this is not true, and we continue to be open to constructive dialogue.

Michael Boyd IRC Board ChairmanMichael Boyd, IRC Board Chairman

Boyd says the decision by the ORC to issue a Notice of Race for an exclusive ORC World Championship in Porto Cervo, Italy, in June 2022 cancels the previously agreed joint IRC/ORC event.

Boyd, who is a Dublin Bay-based yachtsman, says, "The IRC Board, RORC and UNCL were shocked and disappointed to read the ORC/YCCS Notice of Race". 

"This was a totally unexpected unilateral decision at a time when we thought negotiations were continuing to finalise a combined scoring system", he says.

"This action has damaged the foundation of trust and respect, which is essential for progress. If we cannot re-engage, we must consider our options to exercise our right to hold separate IRC World Championships to preserve the rights of sailors using our rating system to compete internationally at the highest level", Boyd concludes.

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The 2022 IRC European Championship will be held at in Breskens, Netherlands alongside the Breskens Sailing Weekend.

The seventh edition of the IRC European Championship will take place over four days of racing in late August 2022. The championship is expected to attract a record fleet of highly competitive IRC rated boats vying for the overall win and class honours.

Breskens is in many ways the sailing gateway of the Low Countries. The port is strategically located between the Netherlands and Belgium, but is also on the edge of the Scheldt Delta and the North Sea.

The 2022 IRC European Championship will have 70 years of regatta organisation behind it on one of the most challenging sailing waters in Europe. Changing but testing weather conditions and variable currents are always on the menu. The area also offers sheltered water in severe weather situations and undisturbed wind on the open sea. The marina, with an open connection to the sea - the Scheldt estuary - is between the sandbanks and endless sailing areas far from the deep-water shipping lanes and is centrally located.

Breskens Sailing Weekend Foundation offer exemplary race management on inshore and offshore race courses, with an international network of talented race-officers, jury members and race and rescue services. All these elements contribute to the reputation that Breskens has earned as an international sailing competition centre.

The Vlakte van Raan, Walvischstaart, and Rassen are sailing areas where the most intensive sailing competitions have taken place. Even now, this is reserved competition water thanks to the excellent relationship the Foundation has built up with all nautical authorities over the years. Breskens is a relatively short distance for many European countries.

The championship is expected to attract a record fleet of highly competitive IRC rated boats vying for the overall win and class honours © Wacon Images/2019 Breskens Sailing Weekend

Centrally located Breskens has good services and facilities for yachtsmen, plus is known for its good social life. The area also has plenty of tourist attractions, once off the water. These include shopping in the fashionable Knokke, excursions to historic areas such as Bruges, and offers exquisite restaurants in town and in the immediate vicinity, such as the gastronomic epicentre of Zeeuws Vlaanderen.

Breskens is ready and waiting to welcome competitors to the 2022 IRC European Championship. Information will be available in the coming months for the 2022 IRC European Championship and will include Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions and details of the exciting and varied social events programme.

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The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s IRC National Championship is underway in the Solent. Two windward-leeward races, followed by a reaching start for a two-hour round the cans finale, gave the RORC fleet a variety of racing. A fresh northerly breeze of 15-20 knots, with pulses of rain showers, produced difficult conditions. Crew work, tactics and strategy were all in the mix for a top performance. The IRC Class leaders after three races: Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán, Stuart Sawyer’s J/121 Black Dog, and Adam Gosling’s JPK 1080 Yes!

Detailed Results here 

IRC ONE

Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán scored a 1-2-1 today to lead the high performance IRC Class. Peter Morton’s GP42 Jean Genie won Race 2 to finish the day in second place but only on countback. Hamilton & Gillon’s GP42 Khumbu is tied on points with Jean Genie, only missing out win in Race One, by 24 seconds after IRC time correction. “Khumbu is going really well after some upgrades, we were very close to winning the first race but Ran hit the ‘turbo button’ to stay ahead.” Commented Khumbu’s Guy Gillon.

RORC Commodore James Neville is racing his HH42 Ino XXX in IRC One, their main focus this year is the Rolex Fastnet Race. However, racing at the IRC National Championship is very much part of the programme. “Inshore and offshore racing are very different disciplines but racing against the top inshore boats in the Solent really sharpens up our performance, and that fine tuning of our boat trim and sail handling works very well offshore.”

Stuart Sawyer’s J/122 Black Dog, overall winner in 2019 © Paul Wyeth/RORCStuart Sawyer’s J/122 Black Dog, overall winner in 2019 © Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC TWO

Stuart Sawyer’s J/121 Black Dog came out fighting hard for the opening day of the championship, scoring straight bullets to take a five point lead from Rob Bottomley’s Mills 41 Sailplane. Mills 39 Zero II, skippered by James Gair is lying third in class. Blair & Beckett’s King 40 Cobra came close to spoiling Black Dog’s perfect score, just 14 seconds behind in Race Three after time correction.

Adam Gosling’s JPK 1080 Yes! © Paul Wyeth/RORCAdam Gosling’s JPK 1080 Yes! © Paul Wyeth/RORC

IRC THREE

Adam Gosling’s JPK 1080 Yes! scored a hat trick of wins today to lead the class. However, it was far from an easy day for Yes!, each race was won by about a minute after IRC time correction. Bruce Huber’s J/112E Xanaboo is second, three points ahead of McNamara & Lowe’s First 40.7 Incognito. 

Racing at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s IRC National Championship continues Saturday 19th June. 

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As the racing season is underway, this new and improved IRC calculator from UK Sailmakers Ireland is just the thing you need for your season ahead.

Just type in the boat name and TCC number of each boat in your class.

Then you will see how much time you give each boat and they give you in your class on the IRC Rating

So you can see in real-time on the racecourse your place in the race.

A graphic of the new and improved IRC Calculator for the 2021 season. Click the link below to go to the calculatorA graphic of the new and improved IRC Calculator for the 2021 season. Click the link below to go to the calculator

Click to go to the IRC Calculator on the UK Sails site

Have a fantastic racing season.

UK Sailmakers Ireland

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Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

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