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Displaying items by tag: Maurice O'Connell

Congratulations to all the class winners at the recently concluded Axiom Spring Series in Kinsale.

Kinsale YC ran a really lovely series of races with some difficult conditions and some magnificent sailing to finish off the regatta this past weekend.

We were delighted to see the number of North Sail's badges in Robert Bateman's fabulous images on

Looking down the list of winners, there was a common theme running in terms of sail supplier....

Spin 1 - Echo Fleet

  • 1st Overall Jelly Baby North Sails*
  • 2nd Overall Alpaca North Sails
  • 3rd Overall Swuzzlebubble North Sails

Spin 1 - IRC Fleet

1st in IRC Spin 1 - The Dwyer's half-tonner "Swuzzlebubble" flying their North Sails 3Di RAW mainsail and A-GRADE Superkote spinnaker Photo: Robert Bateman1st in IRC Spin 1 - The Dwyer's half-tonner "Swuzzlebubble" flying their North Sails 3Di RAW mainsail and A-GRADE Superkote spinnaker Photo: Robert Bateman

  • 1st Overall Swuzzlebubble North Sails
  • 2nd Overall Alpaca North Sails
  • 3rd Overall Jelly Baby North Sails*

Spin 2 - Echo Fleet

1st in IRC and ECHO Spin 2 - Conor Phelan's 1/4 Tonner "Anchor Challenge" flying their North Sails 3DL Mainsail & 3DL Code 2 jib Photo: Robert Bateman1st in IRC and ECHO Spin 2 - Conor Phelan's 1/4 Tonner "Anchor Challenge" flying their North Sails 3DL Mainsail & 3DL Code 2 jib Photo: Robert Bateman

  • 1st Overall Anchor Challenge North Sails
  • 2nd Overall Flyover North Sails
  • 3rd Overall Diamond North Sails*

Spin 2 - IRC Fleet

  • 1st Overall Anchor Challenge North Sails
  • 2nd Overall Diamond North Sails*

Whites - Echo Fleet

1st in Whites ECHO Kieran O'Brien's "Magnet" flying her North Sails 3Di RAW No. 1 genoa & 3Di NorDac mainsail Photo: Robert Bateman1st in Whites ECHO Kieran O'Brien's "Magnet" flying her North Sails 3Di RAW No. 1 genoa & 3Di NorDac mainsail Photo: Robert Bateman

  • 1st Overall Magnet North Sails
  • 2nd Overall Val Freya Sails
  • 3rd Overall Apache North Sails

Whites - IRC Fleet

1st in Whites IRC - Alan Mulcahy's Albin Express "Apache" flying her North Sails mainsail and AP jib1st in Whites IRC - Alan Mulcahy's Albin Express "Apache" flying her North Sails mainsail and AP jib Photo: Robert Bateman

  • 1st Overall Apache North Sails
  • 2nd Overall Magnet North Sails
  • 3rd Overall Val Freya North Sails

Sean Hanley's HB31 "LUAS" flying her North Sails 3DI NorDac mainsail & No. 1 genoa - Photo: Robert BatemanSean Hanley's HB31 "LUAS" flying her North Sails 3DI NorDac mainsail & No. 1 genoa  Photo: Robert Bateman

Congratulations again to all of our amazing clients who put their trust in us to deliver the fastest and most durable products on the market.

From your Team at North Sails Ireland - Nigel, Prof and Shane

*denotes partial inventory

Published in North Sails Ireland
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Irish Sailing professional Maurice Prof O'Connell is working in the Bahamas this week on the broadcast team that is covering all five days of sailing of the Star Sailors League Finals live from Nassau. The regatta starts on Tuesday the 3rd of December and will end on the 7th.

No stranger to the small screen, Prof O'Connell, who works as a professional sailor and coach, and one-design expert with North Sails Ireland, provided the in-studio commentary and analysis with Digby Fox for live action on last May.

There will be four days of qualification with up to 14 races in the Bahamas. Next Saturday there will be a quarter-final, a semi-final and the grand finale.

Published in Star
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Maurice ‘Prof’ O’Connell joins the media team for next week’s Star Europeans and Star Sailors League on Lake Garda.

The professional sailor and coach, and one-design expert with North Sails Ireland, will be providing the in-studio commentary and analysis with Digby Fox for live action on along with Shirley Robertson who will be out on the water.

Prof is no stranger to broadcast sailing coverage, having been in the RTÉ studios for the last three Olympic Games — and he’s certainly no stranger to the Star class, with his final race at the Star Worlds in Miami only 11 years ago.

This year Ireland’s focus will be on the O’Leary brothers Peter and Robert, set to compete against a who’s-who of the racing world from this Wednesday 15 May.

Published in Star

Two Irish boats completed Key West Race week in Florida yesterday as the series closed with lightning, thunder and torrential rain. 

In IRC 2, Tschüss, a MAT 1180, skippered by Christian Zugel with Cork Harbour connections and a big Irish crew onboard, including Maurice O'Connell, finished fourth from five according to provisional results. The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Checkmate C&C 30, skippered by Nigel Biggs, was sixth from 11. Results are here

Organisers were debating if the conditions were safe to proceed with two races to finish the J/70's, Melges 24's and C&C 30's in Division 2 and one for all other classes. 

With several titles at stake, but bad weather threatening, this was not an easy call. Forecaster George Carras from Commander's Weather described the moist tropical conditions in the atmosphere as "juicy and unstable," with a chance for more cells, but with nothing on the radar the fleet headed out of one more day of battle.

When they got out the harbor and headed into the southerly, the forecasted 8-15 knots turned out to be 20+ and building, with monstrous seas enhanced by the south-flowing ebb tide, especially in the Division 4 and Division 1 pre-start course areas. These seas hampered the Race Committees in their efforts to set marks and establish their race courses, so the PRO's pulled the plug for these classes for the day.

Published in Racing

#keywestraceweek  – Irish skipper Conor Clarke and his crew on Embarr posted a pair of bullets to seize the early lead in Melges 24 class, which has attracted 13 entries. Texas skipper Steve Rhyne, who has Mojo in second place after putting up a fourth and a second, said the Dublin-based Embarr had an extra gear when going downwind.

"We started well today and I thought we had good upwind speed, but we had a little trouble on the runs," said Rhyne, who has previously raced a J/109 and Melges 32 here in Key West. "We're new to the class and still figuring out the best way to sail the boat."

Clarke told "Key West was good to us today. Two races in fairly light shifty conditions and we won both of them to lead overall. The result flatters us because we fought hard in each race and it's clear that a number of boats will be presenting a serious challenge this week.

In race 1 we started well and went left at first but realised that boats on the right were making better ground so we crossed to cover. There was a ding dong battle with Mojo most of the way.We rounded the top mark in first but closely followed by Zingara and Mojo. Tricky downwind tactics and ginger movements on board left us rounding with the Canadians on Zingara but having split tacks with them upwind we had some great tactical calls from Huzie and Stu and also great speed allowing us drag away from them to lead into the last leg and also extend our lead to the finish.

Race two was a different story. We fluffed the start and ducked the fleet on port tack to get out into clear air from the back of the pack. We were pushed right and away from where we wanted to be. Eventually we took our first opportunity to go right and for a while looked as if we were in very poor shape indeed. I looked like we might be well into the second half of the fleet but slowly we noticed that our call to get left was going to pay off and the boats out to the right started to fall back. We rounded the top mark in a close 3rd and managed to dig our nose into a slot to windward of the lead boats, Tramp and Mojo. From there we were able to get a tad lower with speed and direct events from there. It was more nervy than it sounds but we managed to round the leeward mark in first and, again, more nervily than it sounds, extended our lead from there to the finish.
A really good days work but we have much more to do. 4 more days to defend our position"

There is no better sight than a steady stream of racing boats either sailing or motoring out of the Historic Seaport harbor around 10 a.m. on Monday. That's a sure sign that the annual race week held off Key West is starting on time and with enough wind to get the regatta underway.

Quantum Key West Race Week 2015 got off to a strong start with the principal race officers on all three divisions able to complete two good races in 8-14 knot northeasterly winds.

"It was a good day of racing. Conditions were ideal and the courses were good," said Hap Fauth, skipper of the mini maxi Bella Mente.

Fauth had reason to be happy as Bella Mente was atop the standings in IRC 1 after the opening day of action. Tactician Terry Hutchinson played the shifts well as the Judel-Vrolijk 72-footer posted results of first and second.

"Terry did a good job of putting us in sync with the puffs and our maneuvers were good," said Fauth, who is breaking six new sailors into his crew of 18.

Hutchinson wasn't happy about losing the lead in Race 1 as Bella Mente sailed into a patch of choppy air, which allowed the 66-foot Numbers to win on corrected time. Bella Mente must beat Numbers, which is being chartered by Florida resident Gunther Buerman, by just over three minutes in order to save its time over the smaller boat.

It was a very good day on the water for skipper William Coates and his crew aboard Otra Vez. The Ker 43 leads both IRC 1 and the High Performance Rule sub-class after getting two good starts and displaying superb upwind speed.

"We have a good boat with a great crew and we did a lot of preparation to get ready for this regatta," said Coates, a resident of Houston, Texas.

Otra Vez made its debut at Quantum Key West 2014 and Coates said the program got better as the year went along, capturing class honors at the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta. Mike Buckley, an All-American sailor at Washington College, is calling tactics for Coates.

"This boat was designed for IRC racing, which is why we're kind of surprised to being doing well in HPR," Coates said. "Our motto is never give up. We were really deep in that second race and gained it all back on the last lap just by staying in phase with the shifts and puffs."

Skipper Jason Carroll and the boys aboard Argo are the early pace-setters in the GC 32 class, which is making its debut in Key West. Winds weren't quite strong enough for the high-performance catamarans to foil upwind, but they were easily able to rise out of the water going downwind. Cameron Appleton, tactician for Alex Jackson on Leenabarca, said staying up on the foils downwind and flying a hull upwind make all the difference in this class.

"This is the first time we've ever sailed the boat and the learning curve is steep," Appleton said. "In relatively light and fickle conditions like we had today, it's tricky to keep the boats moving at top speed. We made improvement from Race 1 to Race 2 so that's a positive."

Appleton, who has competed in just about every monohull class out there, said succeeding in getting these state-of-the-art catamarans into perfect sync is quite rewarding. The GC 32 is capable of reaching speeds of 35 knots while foiling downwind. "These boats are quite sporty and it's very exciting sailing," he said.

Bermuda skipper Alec Cutler got off to a good start in his bid to repeat as Melges 32 class champion. Cutler, who has Canadian professional Richard Clarke calling tactics, placed second in both races on Monday.

J/70 is the largest class in the regatta with 54 boats and the goal going into the first day was to avoid that deep finish that could prove costly. "You can't win the regatta on Monday, but you sure can lose it," Heartbreaker skipper Robert Hughes said. "You don't want to sail your drop race on the first day."

After finishing 11th in Race 1, San Diego skipper Bennett Greenwald got the gun in Race 2 and is the early leader while also earning City of Key West Boat of the Day honors. Hughes, who trails Greenwald by three points and leads Carlo Alberini (Calvi Network) by one, had a similar day with results of 13th and second. In fact, the top five boats on Monday all had one result of fifth or better and another result of 11th or higher.

"We almost had a great day," said Hughes, who lost seven places on the final leg of Race 1. "I'm pleased with our speed. We have new sails and have made some changes to the rig setup. This is the best this boat has ever gone."

Red is another boat that returned to the dock on Monday afternoon as the leader in two classes. British skipper Joe Woods corrected to first place in both races within PHRF 1 and thus also leads the Farr 280 sub-class.

"It's an interesting and tricky boat to sail. It's a 28-footer that feels bigger," said Woods, who previously raced a Melges 24 in Key West and has just three days of practice under his belt aboard the Farr 280.

Gerry Taylor captured class honors at Quantum Key West 2013, but had to miss last year's regatta due to work commitments. The Annapolis resident and his team on Tangent picked up right where they left off two years ago, winning both races in PHRF 2 on Monday.

Skipper Iris Vogel steered Deviation to victory in both races within J/88 class while fellow New York resident Robert Hesse is the early leader in J/111 after notching finishes of first and fourth.


Published in Racing

#keywestraceweek – Top American race fixture, Key West Race Week, starts this morning with Ireland's Melges 24 sportsboat, Embarr, the sole Irish entry this year, a different scenario from a year ago when Ireland's victorious Commodore's Cup team used it as a work–up regatta

Embarr hasn't raced since finishing fifth in the World Championships in San Francisco in October 2013.

There's a couple of changes to the line–up on board.

Mirthe Kramer joins from a match racing background in Holland and also Stuart McNay who sails with Dave Hughes (tactician) in a 470 in the US Olympic team. Huzie and Stu finished 3rd in the 470 in the ISAF Grand Final in Abu Dhabi recently and 2nd in Copa Brasil de Vela in November. The trajectory suggests Gold in Key West, maybe? As ever, Conor Clarke is back along with Maurice O'Connell trimming.

The team has just spent two days practicing in 18–knots in sparkling clear waters. The water is about 28 degrees and the air is 18-24 degrees.

Practice has gone very well in the past two days but it really needs to as most of the team haven't sailed together before and even the Embarr veterans haven't sailed with each other in over a year.

Embarr has in the past suffered from handling errors and lack of preparation time.

Key West has been a flurry of activity for the last four days as sailors swarmed into town for the annual race week that is being held here for the 28th year. Quantum Key West 2015, which begins today on the aqua waters off the southernmost point of the United States, has attracted 115 boats in 10 classes and competitors have been busily preparing and practicing.

Curious tourists looked on with interest as crew members loaded huge sail bags onto the mini maxis that are berthed at the docks in front of the Hyatt. Bella Mente and Shockwave are powerful 72-foot racing machines that require a crew of 18 professionals to race. They will square off in IRC 1 along with Numbers, a 66-footer that returns to the regatta for the first time in several years.

Minneapolis skipper Hap Fauth and his team on Bella Mente will be seeking to repeat as class champs. Veteran pro Terry Hutchinson, who was just named Rolex Yachtsman of the Year for the second time in his illustrious career, joins the team as tactician and is one of many new crew members on Bella Mente.

Hutchinson has helped owners to victory in the Farr 40 and TP52 class at this regatta, but this will be his first time racing a maxi off Key West. He will rely heavily on the recommendations of navigator Ian Moore as Bella Mente draws 17 ½ feet.

"It's going to be different because there are certain areas of the race course that we cannot go," Hutchinson said. "That affects your decision-making as a tactician. Half the challenge is to not run aground."

Shockwave is hoping to avoid the difficulties that prevented it from finishing one race and competing in two others a year ago. Skipper George Sakalleris shook his head when recounting the mishaps, which began with hooking a lobster pot on the way out to the race course. Paul Cayard, a member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame, is the new tactician aboard Shockwave.

"That's one of the wonderful things about having this program, it gives you an opportunity to race with some great sailors," said Sakalleris, a resident of Framingham, Mass. "Paul Cayard is certainly one of the best and we are very happy to have him aboard."

Numbers was a regular competitor in Key West for many years under owner Dan Meyers, who steered the boat to victory a few times. Work commitments have prevented Meyers from participating the last few years, but he has chartered his boat to Gunther Buerman for Quantum Key West 2015.

Buerman is grateful to have also gotten many members of the old Numbers crew, including renowned tactician Brad Butterworth. The four-time America's Cup winner knows the boat extremely well and was eager to get her sailing again.

Sakalleris said Shockwave and Bella Mente cannot afford to get into any match racing battles and forget about the smaller boat. "There might be situations when (Numbers) can hurt either one of this. If we pick a fight with each other, she could sail right past us."

Premiere Racing volunteers working the crane at Truman Annex are busier than usual this year as the four high-tech catamarans in the GC 32 class are dry-sailing, meaning they are hauled out of the water at the end of each day's racing.

These are foiling catamarans capable of doing 30-40 knots in the right conditions. One mistake could lead to a catastrophic capsize and testament to the danger of racing in the GC 32 class is the fact the sailors wear helmets.

"The level of stability is so much lower from what you have in a keelboat. You have to make fine adjustments in everything you do in order to keep the boat under control," said Jason Carroll, skipper of Argo. "Whenever you're going that that fast there is a chance you can hurt yourself if something goes wrong. We're still learning this boat so there is a chance we could stick the nose in the water."

Most of the boats competing in Quantum Key West are berthed at Historic Seaport, either at The Galleon docks or Conch Harbor. Walking the long and winding floating piers at The Galleon is like going to a boat show as the slips are filled with Melges 24s, J/111s, Swan 42s and such sleek designs as a Ker 43, Mills 43 and J/125.

Those latter three are among 11 boats competing in IRC 2 with the Swan 42s and High Performance Rule entries also being scored separately as a sub-class. Spookie, a Carkeek 40 sailed by the husband-wife team of Steve and Heidi Benjamin is defending champs in HPR. They will be challenged this year by two newcomers - Tonnerre 4 and True.

Skipper Peter Vroon recently took possession of the Ker 51 previously known as Varnua, which he said had a solid track record. The Netherlands resident said he wanted a slightly larger platform than Tonnerre de Breskens, which he successfully campaigned the previous six years.

True is a Kernan 47 that that is farly new to skipper Leo van den Thillart of Newport, R.I. This will be the first round-the-buoys regatta for van den Thillart since modifications were made to the boat, which enjoyed some success under the name of Katana.

"This year is a bit different since we have combined with the IRC fleet. We'll have more varied competition between the two boat types, which I think is good," Benjamin said of the HPR entries.

The Melges 24 class has doubled in size since last year and will feature 13 entries, including six from foreign countries. Michigan skipper Thomas Ritter steered Tramp to second place at Quantum Key West 2014 and admitted it will be tough to repeat that performance with several strong programs joining the fleet this year.

"I think the two Norwegian boats will be very serious competitors. Mikey (Kevin Welch) has historically done well while Steven Boho has been very religious about campaigning The 300," Ritter said. "Of course, there's always a surprise. You get here and think you have the fleet figured out, but as the week develops something completely different happens."

J/70 is the largest class in the regatta with 54 boats and features a who's who of top professionals. This is the third year the popular sport boat has competed in Key West and Tim Healy is the two-time defending champ. The North Sails executive is the clear-cut favorite again after capturing both the J/70 World Championship and North American crown.

"We have another real strong fleet down here this year and I think there are a number of boats that are capable of contending," Healy said. "The class is maturing and people are learning how to sail the boats better."

J/111 and J/88 are new one-design classes in Key West and feature seven and six boats, respectively. Cleveland skipper Rob Ruhlman steered Spaceman Spiff to victory in PHRF 1 class last year and is looking forward to racing exclusively against sister ships.

"Most people would rather race one-design as opposed to PHRF or any other rating system. Coming from a Lightning background, that is certainly my preference," said Ruhlman, who hasn't done enough J/111 racing to handicap the fleet here. "There just hasn't been enough one-design competition in this class to be able to say there is a clear favorite."

PHRF 1 features a pair of hot new designs in the Farr 280 and C&C 30. Those two speedsters will be challenged by more established designs such as a J/122 and Farr 30. Robin Team sailed his J/122 to victory in this class two years ago while finishing second in 2014.

PHRF 2 features another past winner in Tangent, a Cape Fear 38 owned by Gerry Taylor of Annapolis. Taylor missed Key West last year for the first time since 2004 and is thrilled to be back racing off the Conch Republic.

"I've always loved sailing in Key West," Taylor said. "The competition is top-notch, the regatta management is first-class and you can't go wrong with high wind and warm weather."

It doesn't hurt to almost always be in contention as well. Taylor captured class honors in 2011 and 2013 while finishing second several times. That history makes Tangent one of the pre-regatta favorites in PHRF 2 class, which includes such divergent designs as a C&C 121, J/105 and J/80.

"There are some different boats in the class than we have seen in the past so it will be interesting to see how we match up," Taylor said.

Published in Racing

Maurice 'Prof' O'Connell has been appointed J Boats dealer for Ireland, a new role for the established sailor who also works with North Sails. 

Key Yachting Ltd, the sole agent and distributor of boats by J Boats and Grand Soleil throughout the UK made the announcement yesterday saying:  'Prof is an established and talented sailor and marine industry professional. He is also a long-term friend and business contact of Key Yachting through his continuing and ongoing work with North Sails Ireland. He is superbly placed to assist with the J Boats fleet build and to support both the new and established J Boat owners throughout the country'.

Paul Heys MD of Key Yachting explained 'We recognise the fact that Ireland is a hotbed of extremely skilled racing sailors and we know from our experience they love the unique challenge and reward that sailing and racing well-built, quality performance yachts such as J Boats presents.

At the moment the J/70 Class is growing at an unprecedented rate. There are already three J/70s in Ireland and it follows that the Class will grow quickly here. This is why we have just furnished Prof with a new J/70 for potential owners to trial sail in Dublin.' He continued 'We have known Prof for many years and in our view he is precisely the right guy to work with the J Boat owners throughout the country.'

Prof has been racing the J/70 with assorted clients and sailing friends in Dublin Bay Sailing Club's 'Turkey Shoot' Series. They are racing against an enormously varied fleet of over 60 boats. On day one Prof, Suzie, Aidan and Helen punched in a win of over three minutes on corrected time, hitting 16 knots at one point down the first reach.

Of the J/70s performance, Prof, who just finished fifth in the Melges 24 Worlds in San Francisco, has this to say: 'the first day I set eyes on the J70, I loved the boat. The carbon rig is stiff, light and very easy to step. The boat is a "proper upwind boat" and flies downwind, whilst being so simple, easy to sail and very well built. It's appeal will very broad'.

The J/70 is the fastest selling sportsboat in the world at the moment (with over 500 sold in less than two years since the launch) and the class has just been granted ISAF status. J Boats know how to develop, support and maintain one-design racing classes better than any other manufacturer: just look at the global enduring success of the J/22, the J/24, the J/80 and the J/109! The J/70 class benefits from strict one-design rules and there is no restrictive crew weight limit. You can race the boat with three or four people she planes effortlessly in 12 to 14 knots of true wind speed. The carbon rig is easily stepped by just two people and the lifting keel means that she is easy to launch on a slipway.

Maurice 'Prof' O'Connell is on +353 86 2364200 or email him at [email protected]

Published in Marine Trade
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#SAILING – The tenth Annual ICRA Conference took place in Dun Laoghaire for the first time on 26th November in the same year ICRA was awarded the Mitsubishi Club of the Year trophy writes ICRA Commdore Barry Rose. It was a well attended event by a very representative group of sailors and club representatives from all Coasts of Ireland.

barry rose

Barry Rose Chaired the ICRA Conference in Dun Laoghaire

The format this year created an inter active discussion in the morning session on Class Bands and the promotion of participation in Cruiser Racing in general. A lively, frank discussion took place with strong views being expressed by most present highlighting the problem of attracting crews to enable boats to go racing and creating access to allow those interested to go sailing to participate in the sport.

mcwilliam sail2

Des McWilliam spoke passionately about Irish sailing - Photo: Bob Bateman

Sailmaker Des McWilliam made a strong appeal that the future of the sport was threatened by difficulty in accessing getting afloat and sailing by the Club structures that were becoming more of a closed shop approach. Maurice O'Connell also spoke passionately on the same subject and examples were given of difficulties encountered both In Cork and Dublin in gaining access to participating in sailing and racing while boats were remaining tied up for lack of crews.

An understanding of the dilemma for the Clubs was also expressed by Flag Officers present in maintaining their facilities for those paying membership while encouraging new sailors to gain access at reasonable cost for a period.

It was agreed that all present would make every effort on a personal basis to encourage opportunities for those interested to go sailing to gain opportunities on boats and access to Club introductory offers.

ICRA will also explore creating an on line vehicle for available crews to register so boat owners gain opportunity to make contact.

There was also suggestions aired that bottom end of Class 1 should be included in Class 2 where all would have better racing.


Howth, the venue for the 2012 ICRA Champs

The Royal Cork Yacht Club was complimented for running a top Class ICRA National Championships in June. Howth Yacht Club gave an update that arrangements are well progressed for an exciting ICRA National Championships in Howth 25th to 27th May 2012. The previous weekend will host the Corby Cup which will encourage those travelling to participate in Nationals and ISORA will run a feeder Race from Wales. It is hoped to announce a Sponsor shortly. Howth plan the first Race for 1600 hrs on Friday to avoid necessity for those travelling to stay over on Thursday.

The main feature of the afternoon session was a similar open forum with Race Officers Jack Roy, Henry Leonard and Harry Gallagher joining the top table for an open discussion on course types that sailors wanted and communications sailors would like with Race Officers. This was also a lively session with frank constructive exchanges which was of benefit to sailors and Race Officers alike.

The feeling of the meeting was that in addition to windward /Leeward courses sailors wanted a good variety of course types both at National Championship level but also at Regional events. Also those present strongly requested that boats over the line at starts be informed whenever possible but on strict understanding in Sailing Instructions that there be no redress in any circumstances relating to same against Race Officers.

Both these forums provided an excellent opportunity for those attending to air their views on all matters relating to Cruiser Racing and to offer ideas and this will be developed further for future conferences.

som oleary

Commodore's Cup Captain Anthony O'Leary. Photo: Bob Bateman

The Commodore reported on efforts to form a team to defend the Commodore's Cup in 2012 and Anthony O'Leary brought the meeting up to date in changes to the event format and expressed confidence that there would be a positive response to ICRA 's request for declarations of interest to form a credible team to defend the Cup as is Ireland's responsibility.

Denis Noonan of Wicklow Sailing Club expressed the Clubs upset and disappointment that an Irish Club would arrange a competing event The Round Rockall Race from Galway starting on the same day as their Iconic Round Ireland Race. They outlined their plans for the 2012 Round Ireland Race and received support for their efforts from those attending. The RORC has increased their points scoring for the Round Ireland Race as further recognition of its standing in World offshore racing. Both ICRA and the ISA confirmed their support for the Round Ireland Race.


Pat Kelly's Storm is ICRA's Boat of the Year. Photo: Bob Bateman

The Conference finished with the presentation of the magnificent crystal ICRA Boat Of The Year trophy for 2011 to Pat Kelly's J 109 Storm who won the ICRA Nationals in Cork in June, The Cruiser Challenge in Dublin in August, The Howth Autumn Series and also travelled to the Scottish Series and Sovereigns Week. It was felt she embodied the spirit of a well campaigned ICRA cruiser racer. A week later Kelly became Afloat's Sailor of the month for November. 

Published in ICRA

A top flight Irish sailing crew leads the Melges 24 World Championships by a slender one point advantage after two tough races in Corpus Christie Texas yesterday.

The five man crew led by Dublin skipper Conor Clarke finished last week's pre-world fixture in third overall,  after spending a week at at the venue training and optimising the Irish boat, Embar.


Happy crew: Pic (L-R) Maeve, Prof O'connell, Conor, David and Nathan

Australian 470 Gold Medallist Nathan Wilmot has been drafted in to helm the Irish entry and his attention to detail has been formidable, according to crew members. The others onboard are Bow: Maeve Judge, Howth YC (they needed a sub 50kg person to make up the weight limit and Maeve is a triathlete and top dinghy crew so she fitted the bill perfectly) Pit & Owner: Conor Clarke, Royal Irish YC and Royal Jamaica YC. Spi trim: Maurice O'Connell, RSGYC and RCYC. Jib trim/tactician: David Hughes, San Diego (a top US pro sailor / coach) and Helm: Nathan Wilmot (the 470 Gold Medallist and triple 470 World Champion)

Conor Clarke was a stalwart of  the 1720 class in Dublin for years for years and still owns the 1720 "Wow" which he keeps in
Lake Garda. Conor works for Digical in Jamaica, hence Royal Jamaica YC entry.

Although Clarke is obviously happy with results thus far,  he is well aware the World championships are a 12 race series - a gruelling 'sprint marathon' and there is still a long way to go.

Clarke's second and fifth yesterday were good enough to see him top the leaderboard at the end of the first day, with a one point advantage over Lorenzo Bressani and Eivind Melleby who were tied on points in second and third respectively.

Here is the official race report from press officer Justin Chisolm.

Day one of the 2011 Melges 24 World Championship in Corpus Christi, Texas, saw two closely fought races completed in sparkling conditions. The first race was sailed in an oscillating 7 - 10 knot breeze and saw Alan Field at the helm of USA 811 WTF, take the win after overtaking the initial leader, Nathan Wilmot on IRL 607 Embarr just before the second windward mark.

By the time Race two got underway the wind had clocked significantly to the right and built in strength up to around 14 - 16 knots. Kristen Lane steering USA 812 Brick House 812, led around the first mark, and despite letting her grip on the race loosen for a while on the second beat, she came back strong to retake the lead at the final top mark. From then on she was totally in control, and after sailing a tactically astute second run, she eased home to take a well deserved race win. A solid fifth for Wilmot in that race was enough to give the Irish crew aboard Embarr the overall lead, just one point ahead of reigning World Champion Lorenzo Bressani on ITA 817 Uka Uka Racing. Tied on points with Bressani is Norwegian Eivind Melleby on Full Medal Jacket, whose 5,3 score puts him in third place at the end of Day 1.

The expectation was always for light to medium conditions to prevail on the first day of the 2011 Melges 24 World Championship, and race one was started in an unstable 8 - 10 knots of breeze, with direction swings of up to twenty degrees. A significant right hand shift minutes after the start, saw almost the entire fleet tack onto port soon after the gun. The boats who got out to the right soonest appeared to pick up a little extra pressure in the first half of the beat, but as the leg progressed it was Nathan Wilmot helming IRL 607 Embarr who came in from the middle right to lead at the top mark. Two to three boat lengths behind was Alan Field on USA 811 WTF. A further five boatlengths behind, Eivind Melleby on NOR 804 Full Medal Jacket, headed a a gaggle of seven or eight boats, including Flavio Favini on SUI 596 Blu Moon, Ricardo Simoneschi on ITA 819 AUDI, and Lorenzo Bressani on ITA 817 Uka Uka Racing. As the two leading boats extended down the first run, the breeze faded a little and became somewhat patchy, presenting plenty of passing opportunities amongst the still closely compacted chasing pack. The dying wind had also continued to clock around to the right, requiring the race committee to shorten the second beat and lay a change mark considerably further to the right.

Given the change in wind direction, the bulk of the leading group chose the right hand gate mark (looking upwind), but second placed Field chose to break off and round the left hand buoy. This ultimately proved to be a race winning move, as by the latter part of the second beat, Field had hooked into a left hand shift and some extra pressure which took him past Wilmot on the approach to the second windward mark. From there on Field was in complete control, and with the breeze now shifting even further right and slowly beginning to build again, he was easily able to maintain his leverage on the fleet to take a comfortable race win. Wilmot proved to be equally safe in second, with Melleby demonstrating some excellent downwind speed to take third.

After a brief delay to allow the breeze to complete its swing to the right, the race committee went in to sequence for the second race. Perhaps anticipating a further shift to the right, the fleet all seemed keen to start at the committee boat end of the line, and the resulting bunching caused a General Recall on the first start attempt. More evenly spread along the line for the second start, the fleet then got away cleanly, with Bora Gulari on USA 820 New England Ropes/West Marine nailing the start at the right hand end and getting an initial jump on the fleet. However even before the mid point of the first beat it was Eiichiro Hamazaki on JPN 783 Esprit, who was making the early running on the right of the course, ahead of Favini and Kristen Lane on USA 812 Brick House 812. By the top mark Lane had squeezed into the lead ahead of Favini and Hamazaki in second and third.

These three boats were engaged in a full on battle for the lead throughout the entire first downwind leg, with Lane ultimately rounding the left hand gate mark just seconds before Hamazaki turned at the right buoy. Favini was hot on their heels, rounding the left mark just a couple of feet ahead of Brian Porter on USA 749 Full Throttle. The scrap for the lead continued up the second beat, with Lane briefly relinquishing the lead to Favini at the midpoint, before coming back strongly in the closing stages of the leg, to squeeze in on the port layline and tack cleanly just feet ahead of Favini. This tack left Favini struggling to lay the mark and his subsequent clearing tack on to port in front of the incoming Lorenzo Bressani on Uka Uka Racing resulted in Bressani doing penalty turns. Lane had meanwhile escaped and was then able to extend her lead down the final run and went on to take the win ahead of Bressani in second and Eivind Melleby on Full Medal Jacket in third.

In the overall scorings, Nathan Wilmot's second and fifth were good enough to see him top the leaderboard at the end of the first day, with a one point advantage over Lorenzo Bressani and Eivind Melleby who were tied on points in second and third respectively. Kristen Lane's 8,1, scoreline puts her in fourth overall, tied her on points with Flavio Favini in fifth.

Melges 24 World Championships include a Corinthian Division for those teams without any ISAF classified professional sailors. The Corinthians race with the main fleet but are also scored separately for the Melges 24 Corinthian World Championship. Two Corinthian first places for Eiichiro Hamazaki on JPN 783 Esprit gives him the overall lead at the end of Day 1, with Kevin Clark on USA 24 Smokin, in second place with a third and a fifth. With a eighth and a second, August Hernandez on USA 533 High Voltage, rounds out the Corinthian top three.

With a more familiar local weather system now appearing to establish itself, there is a good chance that tomorrow will see the full arrival of the Corpus Christi thermal breezes. To give the wind its best chance to develop, the start time for racing on Day 2 has been pushed back to 13.00.Racing at the 2011 Melges 24 World Championship begins on Monday 16 May and runs through until Saturday 21 May, with two races per day scheduled.

Pos, Bow/Sail, Boat, Skipper, Yacht Club, Results, Total Points
1. 04 / IRL 607, Embarr, Conor Clarke, Royal Jamaica Yacht Club, 2-5- ; 7   
2. 21 / ITA 817, UkaUka Racing, Lorenzo Bressani, Club Vela Portocivitanova, 6-2- ; 8T   
3. 27 / NOR 804, Full Medal Jacket, Eivind Melleby, Royal Norwegian Yacht Club, 5-3- ; 8T   
4. 02 / USA 812, Brick House 812, Kristen Lane, St. Francis Yacht Club, 8-1- ; 9T   
5. 20 / SUI 596, Blu Moon, Flavio Favini, YCL, 3-6- ; 9T   
6. 15 / ITA 735, ALTEA, Andrea Racchelli, CVCI, 4-7- ; 11   
7. 01 / USA 811, WTF, Alan Field, California Yacht Club, 1-11- ; 12   
8. 32 / JPN 783, Esprit, Eiichiro Hamazaki[Corinthian], Seabonia Yacht Club, 11-4- ; 15   
9. 17 / BER655, hedgehog, Alec Cutler, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, 9-8- ; 17   
10. 16 / ITA 819, AUDI, Riccardo Simoneschi, YCCS, 7-12- ; 19   
11. 29 / USA-749, FULL THROTTLE, Brian Porter, Lake Geneva Yacht Club., 16-9- ; 25T   
12. 25 / USA 820, New England Ropes/West Marine, Bora Gulari, Bayview Yacht Club, 15-10- ; 25T   
13. 08 / AUS 553, Bandit, Warwick Rooklyn, CYCA, 14-13- ; 27   
14. 22 / FRA 644, ZIG ZAG 18, Henri Samuel, YACHT CLUB DE DINARD, 12-16- ; 28   
15. 07 / AUS 686, Coco, Heath Walters, Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, 13-17- ; 30   
16. 26 / USA 604, Tom Slick, Jeff Wittenberg, Columbia, 10-23- ; 33   
17. 06 / USA 623, Brick House 623, Peter Lane, St. Francis Yacht Club, 18-18- ; 36   
18. 24 / USA 786, BATTLE RHYTHM, Guy Mossman, Carolina Yacht Club, 22-15- ; 37   
19. 05 / USA 700, ARDOR/C.R.E.A.M., David O'Reilly, ChYC, 19-20- ; 39   
20. 31 / USA 379, Team Velocitek, Daniel Kaseler, Port Madison Yacht Club, 20-21- ; 41   
21. 10 / USA 533, High Voltage, August Hernandez[Corinthian], Chicago Corinthian Yacht Club, 28-14- ; 42   
22. 09 / USA 344, Cold Shot, Steve Eller[Corinthian], Austin Yacht Club, 17-28- ; 45T   
23. 14 / USA 24, Smokin, Kevin Clark[Corinthian], Encinal, 21-24- ; 45T   
24. 11 / CAN 121, Black Dog, Dave Black[Corinthian], Etobicoke Yacht Club, 27-22- ; 49T   
25. 03 / USA 674, Rosebud, Scott Holmgren[Corinthian], OCBC, 23-26- ; 49T   
26. 12 / USA675, 12happythoughts, David Brede, CYC Seattle, 25-25- ; 50   
27. 13 / USA 615, Funtech Racing, Charlie Hess[Corinthian], BYC, 24-27- ; 51   
28. 28 / GER 635, Unsponsored, Christof Wieland[Corinthian], Bayrischer Yacht Club, 33/RAF-19- ; 52   
29. 33 / USA 480, Monsoon II, Mark Hulings[Corinthian], Corpus Christi Yacht Club, 26-30- ; 56   
30. 23 / USA 15, Abordage, Erwan le Gall[Corinthian], Golden Gate Yacht Club, 29-29- ; 58   
31. 18 / USA 494, Wee Jaggie, Andrew Walford[Corinthian], Oklahoma City Boat Club, 30-31- ; 61   
32. 30 / USA 201, Mako, Stephen McMillan, Tahoe City Yacht Club, 31-32- ; 63  

Published in Racing



The ICRA Team Celebrations in Cowes, Photo: David Branigan


After a series of near misses in the Commodores Cup, there are many reasons why 2010 was an entirely appropriate timing for an Irish win in Cowes today.

Ireland's single three boat team (below) faced stiff opposition in the final ten team line up. Individual performances this season though, including a win at the British IRC Nationals, is proof, were it needed, that Ireland still was always on course to win the Commodores Cup. 
Ireland's team on the Solent was Royal Cork based; Antix, Anthony O'Leary (Ker 39); David Dwyer (Mills 39) and Roxy 6 Robert Davies (Corby 36). The full crew list for each boat is below, representing the very best of Irish sailing talent.
Third time lucky is how it was scripted in 08, but not how it was acted out. After first being jilted by the French and now, for the second time, by the English, the Irish could be forgiven for giving up on the cup but we never did. This victory represents the final week of eight months preparation for superb assault on the title.



Team Ireland 2010 Commodores Cup

Photos by Robert Bateman

IRL3939 Antix Anthony O'Leary (Ker 39)


Anthony O'Leary (IRL)

David Lenz (GBR)

Peter O'Leary (IRL)

Ross Deasy (IRL)

Brian Lennon (IRL)

Stephen O'Sullivan (IRL)

Eoin Leahy (IRL)

Frederick Cudmore (IRL)

Simon Johnson (IRL)

Rory O'Sullivan (IRL)

Jimmy Houston (GBR)

Derek Moynan (IRL)

Tom Durcan (IRL)

Robert O'Leary (IRL)

Darragh O'Connor (IRL)

IRL39000 David Dwyer (Mills 39)


Andy Beadsworth (GBR)

David Bolton (IRL)

Padraig Byrne (IRL)

Alan Curran (IRL)

David Dwyer (IRL)

Bernard Fitzpatrick (IRL)

Brian Heneghan (IRL)

David Love (IRL)

Tom Murphy (IRL)

Nicholas O'Leary (IRL)

Clive O'Shea (IRL)

Sandy Rimmington (IRL)

Chris Schirmer (GBR)

Don Wilson (IRL)

IRL36000 Roxy 6 Robert Davies (Corby 36)


Rob Davies (GBR)

Andrew Creighton (IRL)

Marty O'Leary (IRL)

Jim Hughes (IRL)

Paul Farries (GBR)

Nelson Moore (IRL)

Tom Whitburn (GBR)

Michael Liddy (IRL)

Aidan O'Connell (IRL)

Maurice O'Connell (IRL)

Team Management:

Barry Rose, Fintan Cairns, Denis Kiely, Mike Broughton and Norbert Reilly



Published in Commodores Cup