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Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC member) Guy O'Leary is on day 23 of his Mile A Day in May 2024 swim supporting the Trinity College/St.James Hospital Cancer Institute- Ireland's first centre of excellence for Cancer Research.

This is the fifth year Guy and his friends have been doing these 31-mile swims, and they have raised enough money to fund 10 years of PhD Cancer Research.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Guy — son of Dun Laoghaire Marina developer and local sailing stalwart Michael O’Leary — was diagnosed with cancer after a routine check-up in November 2017 at the age of 34.

Thanks to the efforts of an “incredible surgeon” and other specialists, not to mention 11 gruelling rounds of chemotherapy, Guy has long since regained his health.

And he’s been determined to give back to those who helped keep him alive — starting with his first fundraiser in May 2019 when he swam a mile each day in May in various locations, whether in pools, inland waters or the sea.

“Having been through the horrors of cancer, I want to do everything I can to help the research effort,” Guy says. “Over the past few years, we have raised enough money to fund ten years of PhD cancer research.”

One in two of us will get cancer during our lives - these 31 miles aim to stand up to this disease.

Follow all the miles on guy.oleary on Instagram.

To support /donate - mileadayinmay2024

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

Despite multiple attempts by the Royal Irish Yacht Club Race Committee to commence the remaining schedule on Sunday, the light northerly winds on Dublin Bay did not cooperate for the second day of racing at the 2024 Dun Laoghaire Cup for sports boats.

As a result, racing was abandoned at 2 pm, and the overnight positions after three races sailed and all to count (as reported by Afloat here) stood, and the presentation of prizes for the three East Coast and one National championship went ahead in May sunshine on the RIYC balcony on Sunday afternoon.

Despite the best effort of the Royal Irish Race Committee no further racing was possible on Day two due to lack of stable wind Photo: AfloatDespite the best effort of the Royal Irish Race Committee no further racing was possible on Day two due to lack of stable wind Photo: Afloat

In the 12-boat SB20 class, reigning national champion Michael O'Connor of the Royal St. George Yacht Club, at the helm of Ted, took three wins from three races to win overall.

Davy Taylor, a crewman from the Royal St. George Yacht Club SB20 Ted is presented with the Royal Irish Yacht Club's Dun Laoghaire Cup for the best performance in all classes by Royal Irish Yacht Club Rear Commodore Hugh KellyDavy Taylor (left), crewman from the Royal St. George Yacht Club SB20 Ted (below) is presented with the Royal Irish Yacht Club's Dun Laoghaire Cup for the best performance in all classes by Royal Irish Yacht Club Rear Commodore Hugh Kelly

SB20 Ted

The Ross McDonald skippered Rope Dock Atara from Howth Yacht Club won the 1720 East Coast Championship, with the biggest turnout of 13 boats.

Royal Irish's Jimmy Fischer in Billy Whizz came out on top in the tie-break of the six-boat Beneteau First 21 National Championships to clinch the title.

Austin Kenny's Ram Jam was the J80 class winner.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

Homeport sportsboats led in three of the competing classes after the first day of racing on Saturday (May 18) at the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC), which hosted the Dun Laoghaire Cup 2024 on Dublin Bay.

Three East Coast and one National championship are being sailed as part of the special two-day event, which will include up to six races for a 34-boat fleet in four separate sportsboat classes on windward-leeward or trapezoid courses. The Race Officer is RIYC's Michael Tyrrell.

1720

At the 1720 East Coast Championship, with the biggest turnout of 13 boats, Ross McDonald's skippered Rope Dock Atara from Howth Yacht Club has a two-point lead over the RIYC's Davie Ryan in Big Bad Wolf, who is on 12 points after three races sailed. Lying third is Galway Bay visitor After Midnight.

SB20

In the 12-boat SB20 class, reigning national champion Michael O'Connor of the Royal St. George Yacht Club, at the helm of Ted, took three wins from three races to already have a four-point margin over the National Yacht Club's Philip Doran on seven points in the class's East Coast Championships.

Michael O'Connor of the Royal St. George Yacht Club, at the helm of TedMichael O'Connor of the Royal St. George Yacht Club, at the helm of Ted

O'Connor's clubmate Patrick McGrath is third on 16 in The Big Smoke. As part of the weekend, the class organised a 'press conference' and live-streamed a parade of sail of the competing SB20s at the East Pier on social media.

B211

Royal Irish's Jimmy Fischer in Billy WhizzRoyal Irish's Jimmy Fischer in Billy Whizz

Royal Irish's Jimmy Fischer in Billy Whizz is the leader on a scoring tie-break of the six-boat Beneteau First 21 National Championships after three races sailed. Clubmate Joe Smyth is also on three points after scoring 1,2 in the opening races. 

J80

In the J80s, Austin Kenny's Ram Jam, with three wins, leads from Vincent Lattimore's Jambiya. Third is Declan Curtin's Jester.

 While initially slated for competition, the Flying Fifteens did not race in the 2024 Dun Laoghaire Cup, six having just returned from the European Championships in France

Two further aces are scheduled to decide the Cup in all classes on Sunday.

Provisional results are below

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

The Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) has announced that Dublin law firm Maples Group will be the title sponsor of the upcoming IRC European Championship sailing regatta. Taking place on the Irish capital's waters of Dublin Bay, the Maples Group RORC IRC Europeans will bring together some of the best Grand Prix cruisers racers in Europe for a thrilling nine-race championship over three days of competition from September 12th to 15th.

The sponsorship announcement follows this week's news of the imminent arrival of a top new racing yacht for the RIYC fleet that is expected to contest the Euros.

The event marks the climax of three weeks of keelboat racing in the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Club this summer. The action-packed summer starts with the 2024 ICRA national championships in August, followed by the J/Boat Cup, which incorporates the J/109 Europeans and finishes with the Maples Group RORC IRC European Championship. The event website is here

In a special partnership with the London-headquartered Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), the sixth edition of the championships promise to be an unforgettable week of top-class sailing. According to the Royal Irish Yacht Club Regatta organiser, Fintan Cairns, “We have introduced a number of innovations this year to make the event more attractive to smaller-rated boats, right down to Quarter Tonners, and, given the right conditions, a lower-rated boat may well take the overall prize!”

Quarter Ton Cup Champion Ian Southworth in his vintage yacht Protis from England is entered in the 2024 Maples Group IRC European ChampionshipsQuarter Ton Cup Champion Ian Southworth in his vintage yacht Protis from England is entered in the 2024 Maples Group IRC European Championships

Peter Stapleton, Managing Partner of Maples and Calder, the Maples Group's law firm in Dublin said, “We are delighted to support the IRC European Championship on its return to Ireland for the first time since 2016. As an island, Ireland's beautiful coastline provides many wonderful places to sail, and I have no doubt Dublin Bay will prove to be a wonderful venue for an unforgettable week of top-class sailing. At the Maples Group, we are committed to fostering strong relationships and making a positive impact in the communities where we operate. In addition to sailing, the Maples Group in Ireland has a proud history of partnering with sporting organisations in rugby, football and the Special Olympics. We wish the Royal Irish Yacht Club and all domestic and international crews the very best of success for this year's championships".

With 120 days to the first gun, the excitement is already building, with over 20 boats having registered expressions of interest, including some notable top campaigns from the UK, such as Quarter Ton Cup Champion Ian Southworth in his vintage yacht Protis from England. Host country boats are also expected to make a strong showing, with Cork Harbour campaigns among the early entries.

The IRC European Championship, which alternates between the North and South of Europe (the Channel and the Mediterranean Sea), is a flagship event of the RORC.

The fifth edition of the IRC European Championship took place in Hyères in 2021, France and followed Cork Week in 2016, Marseille in 2017, Cowes in the UK in 2018, and San Remo, Italy in 2019.

Check out the IRC Europeans website here

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club

The Royal Irish Yacht Club of Dun Laoghaire is so far the only club in Ireland which has indicated to Denis Byrne, Commodore of the governing Irish Cruiser-Racer Association and Vice Admiral of the Royal Cork YC, that it is prepared to undertake to provide two boats and crews for competition in the 2025 re-birth of the Admiral’s Cup series, envisaged as concluding its competition as a central feature of next year’s Centenary Fastnet Race.

The superb former Le Havre pilot cutter Jolie Brise was overall winner of the first Fastnet Race in 1925, and thanks to the meticulous maintenance of longtime owners Dauntsey’s School, she’s lined up to race the Centenary next year. Photo: Rick TomlinsonThe superb former Le Havre pilot cutter Jolie Brise was overall winner of the first Fastnet Race in 1925, and thanks to the meticulous maintenance of longtime owners Dauntsey’s School, she’s lined up to race the Centenary next year. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

With 14 nations registering interest, the format is flexible, as clubs or countries can be putting forth teams. It’s a useful state of affairs at this stage of team assembly negotiations, as no individual names need to be mentioned. Thus where a suitable boat is not immediately available to the challengers, then if one is not being purpose-built (and some are), the alternative of charter options can be explored with the essential element of privacy.

LONG TERM PROGRAMME ALREADY UNDERWAY

The long-term overall programme may now be underway with significant dates finalized as tabulated here, but the actual action is distilled into the final fortnight in July next year:

Admirals_cup_programme 2025

Each two-boat team will comply with the prescribed rating bands as outlined here:

Admirals_cup_rating_bands

MARK MANSFIELD, HE SAY

Seasoned campaigner Mark Mansfield of Cork was already an impressive Admiral’s Cup veteran before many of our readers were born, in fact he’s probably in the reckoning to be the youngest AC skipper ever, but being Mark it’s not something to which he gives undue attention.

Noting that an RIYC member has recently bought a Ker 46 which would fit in at the bottom of the upper rating band, he reckons that currently boat-less challengers will probably be aiming for charter of a TP52 or a PAC52 for the larger boat, and as modern a Fast Forty – or better still a Performance 40 - as they can secure, in order to challenge for the lower size band. For the rest of us, the fact that a Performance 40 is the small boat, with the entry fee at £5,500 for the biggies and £4,500 for the others, indicates that this is serious stuff, as those fees will be only a tiny fraction of the budget. But then the Admiral’s Cup is not your average sailing silverware – it’s pure gold in every sense.

“Pure gold in every sense”. International sailing may compete for an impressive collection of historic silverware, but when you want a memorable Admiral’s Cup, it has to be gold“Pure gold in every sense”. International sailing may compete for an impressive collection of historic silverware, but when you want a memorable Admiral’s Cup, it has to be gold

VARIED HISTORY

This Royal Ocean Racing Club’s revival of the 1957-inaugurated biennial Admiral’s Cup Inshore/Offshore series has a special resonance for Ireland. We may never have won it during its peak three-boat team years from 1967 to 1997 (it finally petered out after 2003), but we have twice had the top scoring AC Fastnet Race boat through Ken Rohan’s Holland 39 Regardless in 1981 with Robert Dix as lead helm, and the chartered Dubois 40 Irish Independent – with Tim Goodbody as lead helm – in 1987.

Ken Rohan’s all-conquering Holland 39 Regardless during the Irish Admiral’s Cup Trials at Cork in May 1981, racing seaward past the rocks off Roche’s Point. Phot: W M NixonKen Rohan’s all-conquering Holland 39 Regardless during the Irish Admiral’s Cup Trials at Cork in May 1981, racing seaward past the rocks off Roche’s Point. Phot: W M Nixon

Before that, going into the concluding Fastnet Race in 1979, our “Team of Teams” was leading the overall points table by a country mile, with Ireland’s Holland 42 Golden Apple, Holland 39 Regardless and Peterson 39 Inishanier ahead of a record fleet of 19 national three-boat squads. But although the 1979 Fastnet storm disaster was to wipe out much more than a small island nation’s hopes of carrying off a mighty international ocean racing victory, nevertheless it’s that mood of almost supernatural promise preceding it which we now remember.

COMMODORE’S CUP

Since then, the Commodore’s Cup played a more-than-useful role as a sort of “Admiral’s Cup Lite” from 1992 to 2016, with Cork’s Anthony O’Leary the hero, sometimes pulling three boat teams together apparently by a mixture of sheer faith and pure willpower, and with such success that Ireland won in 2010 and 2014.

Keeping the flag flying. During the lean years, it was Anthony O’Leary’s determination to keep Ireland in the picture with the red-hulled Antix in the Commodores Cup that inspired everyone with superbly judged performancesKeeping the flag flying. During the lean years, it was Anthony O’Leary’s determination to keep Ireland in the picture with the red-hulled Antix in the Commodores Cup that inspired everyone with superbly judged performances

ADMIRAL’S CUP A “HEALTHILY ORGANIC GROWTH”

But the Commodore’s Cup lacked the Magic Ingredient X, as it was deliberately scheduled in non-Fastnet Race years. The Admiral’s Cup, on the other hand, started as a healthily organic growth. It emerged from the fact that boats from overseas had been increasingly using a neatly balanced programme of the RORC Channel Race in the weekend before Cowes Week at the beginning of August, then racing at least twice in Cowes Week itself in the Britannia Cup on the Tuesday, and the New York Yacht Club Cup on the Thursday, before heading off in the concluding and high-scoring Fastnet Race on the Saturday.

American skipper Dick Nye’s successful Philip Rhodes-designed yawl Carina off Cowes. She was overall winner of the 1955 and 1957 Fastnet Races, and her regular participation in the biennial Channel Race-Cowes Week-Fastnet Race programme was one of the inspirations for the inauguration of the Admiral’s Cup in 1957.American skipper Dick Nye’s successful Philip Rhodes-designed yawl Carina off Cowes. She was overall winner of the 1955 and 1957 Fastnet Races, and her regular participation in the biennial Channel Race-Cowes Week-Fastnet Race programme was one of the inspirations for the inauguration of the Admiral’s Cup in 1957

Initially, the Admiral’s Cup was aimed primarily at the Americans, as the great Dick Nye of the Cruising Club of America with his wonderful Phil Rhodes-designed Carina II had dominated the Fastnet in the late 1950s. But soon the rapidly-expanding sailing scene in France saw their team making an appearance, and by the mid 1960s the Australians were shipping boats – including Gordon Ingate’s extraordinarily successful 1948 Robert Clark-designed Caprice of Huon – halfway round the world to take part, and achieve success too.

Classic stuff. Australian Gordon Ingate’s 1948-vintage Robert Clark-designed Caprice of Huon slicing her way in style through Cowes Roads in 1965 to win the Britannia Cup. In 1967 he was a member of the Admiral’s Cup winning Australian teamClassic stuff. Australian Gordon Ingate’s 1948-vintage Robert Clark-designed Caprice of Huon slicing her way in style through Cowes Roads in 1965 to win the Britannia Cup. In 1967 he was a member of the Admiral’s Cup winning Australian team

ADMIRALS CUP WINNERS:

Year

Winner

Top Placed Yacht

1957

 United Kingdom

 

1959

 United Kingdom

 

1961

 United States

 

1963

 United Kingdom

Clarion of Wight (GBR)

1965

 United Kingdom

 

1967

 Australia

Mercedes III (AUS)

1969

 United States

Red Rooster (USA)

1971

 United Kingdom

 

1973

 Germany

 

1975

 United Kingdom

 

1977

 United Kingdom

Imp (USA)

1979

 Australia

Police Car (AUS)

1981

 United Kingdom

 

1983

 Germany

 

1985

 Germany

 

1987

 New Zealand

Propaganda (NZL)

1989

 United Kingdom

Jamarella (GBR)

1991

 France

Corum Saphir (FRA)

1993

 Germany

 

1995

 Italy

 

1997

 United States

 

1999

 Netherlands

 

2001

cancelled

 

2003

 Australia

Wild Oats (AUS)

2005

cancelled

 

2007

cancelled

 

 

WHAT WENT WRONG?

Why did such a once extremely healthy event appear to simply fade away and die, or at least go into semi-permanent hibernation with only a couple of countries interested at the end? Well, it’s something of a broad stroke to make this claim, but the rapid growth - despite slow acceptance – of sailing professionalism at all levels of command contributed greatly to the temporary (let’s hope) demise of what was a once-successful series beautifully tailored for skilled Corinthians.

After all, an able amateur could do the entire user-friendly series in a fortnight’s holiday, which in Ireland and France – for instance -meant that you could give the Admiral’s Cup series two weeks of total devotion, yet still have some leave time left for holiday duty with the family in Kerry or Brittany.

GENUINE CRUISER-RACERS AGAINST STRIPPED-OUT RACERS

Then too, the early participating boats were genuine cruiser-racers – some crews even lived aboard during Cowes Week - but this domesticated approach was soon pushed aside by the professional stripping of boats for purely racing purposes. In other words, the Admiral’s Cup series was trying to be all things to all men and women. But inevitably the lust to win would dominate, and it became an irritant for the serious pros to have to share already crowded race courses with other less proficiently-sailed boats that may not even have been in the same competition.

Denis Doyle’s 47ft Clark-designed Crosshaven-built Moonduster of 1965 racing for Ireland in the 1969 Admiral’s CupDenis Doyle’s 47ft Clark-designed Crosshaven-built Moonduster of 1965 racing for Ireland in the 1969 Admiral’s Cup

IRELAND’S ORGANISING BODY

Ireland first entered in 1965, when the organising body for our team was the Irish Cruising Club. But with the pace of the event increasing almost exponentially with every biennial staging, the weight of organization was such that, with the ICC increasingly becoming a totally cruising organisation whose public face was the publication of Sailing Directions, the Irish Yachting Association took over, with the Irish Admirals Cup team selection, organisation and management through its busy Offshore Racing Committee chaired by Malachi O’Gallagher.

Consequently your columnist - as an IYA Council Member delegated to the Offshore Racing Committee through what you could reasonably consider to be a series of clerical errors – found himself involved with the Admiral’s Cup for many years which included being a selector, active boat place contender, management team member, general reporter and PR man, and post event analyst.

TWIN PEAKS

Of the two peaks in this unlikely involvement, one came in 1979 when I was delegated to Plymouth to welcome home what looked like being the winning Irish team, and found myself instead being accidentally given privileged interview opportunities with overall winner Ted Turner while the remains of the lost Irish hopes struggled home after the 1979 Fastnet storm.

The 63ft Sparkman & Stephens-designed Tenacious (Ted Turner) arrives at the Fastnet Rock in 1979 some hours before the storm struck.The 63ft Sparkman & Stephens-designed Tenacious (Ted Turner) arrives at the Fastnet Rock in 1979 some hours before the storm struck

The Fastnet storm of 1979, and Tenacious races on to the overall winThe Fastnet storm of 1979, and Tenacious races on to the overall win

The other was 1987, when the formidable pairing of Sean Flood and Terry Johnson formed the core of a compact but high-powered management. Team sponsorship was there in abundance with Heineken, while Jameson Whiskey backed a boat and Irish Independent backed the third, a Dubois 40 tweaked to the uttermost by the genius of Jo Richards.

Jameson throws a neat tack to stay ahead in Solent AC racingJameson throws a neat tack to stay ahead in Solent AC racing

GOODBODY THE GREAT

With Tim Goodbody of the Royal Irish YC as lead helm, Irish Indo soon showed her potential by out-tacking the form boat, near-sister Jamarella helmed by Lawrie Smith, in an enthralling duel in the Solent. And then at the finish of the Fastnet, with at least four of the 40-footers sweeping into Plymouth in line abreast, the fact that Jo had ensured that the Indo’s rating was a fraction of a fraction less than anyone else’s provided the overall Fastnet Race 1987 win, while the Irish team had their best Admiral’s Cup placing at fourth out of thirteen nations.

The crew of 1987 Fastnet Race winner Irish Independent at a celebration in the Royal Irish YC in December 2016 are (left to right) Billy Pope, Tom Power, Jo Richards, Stephen Fein, Sean Flood (Team Captain), Tim Goodbody, Tom Roche and Graham Deegan. Photo: W M Nixon There were of course to be other notable Irish challenges before the Admiral’s Cup collapsed in 2003 under its weight of expectations, internal contradictions and enormous and irretrievable expense. In the intervening 37 years, offshore and ocean racing has of course increased enormously, but it has become so utterly international that trying to select team based on some criteria of nationality is wellnigh impossible.The crew of 1987 Fastnet Race winner Irish Independent at a celebration in the Royal Irish YC in December 2016 are (left to right) Billy Pope, Tom Power, Jo Richards, Stephen Fein, Sean Flood (Team Captain), Tim Goodbody, Tom Roche and Graham Deegan. Photo: W M Nixon There were of course to be other notable Irish challenges before the Admiral’s Cup collapsed in 2003 under its weight of expectations, internal contradictions and enormous and irretrievable expense. In the intervening 37 years, offshore and ocean racing has of course increased enormously, but it has become so utterly international that trying to select team based on some criteria of nationality is wellnigh impossible.

CLUBS NOW IN ASCENDANT

But meanwhile in some ways the wheel has come full circle. The clubs are back in the ascendant. They may draw in members from many nations, or only a few, but if you add to your club’s successes, as far as your fellow members are concerned you can be the Unknown Sailor from Planet Zog and they won’t mind at all.
That said, being the Royal Irish Yacht Club does cover a lot of location and nationality bases, and there’s no doubting the formidable resources and abilities of those whose enthusiasm the club can rely on. But once the event gets going, it can be quite the leveller.

While the Royal Irish Yacht Club headquarters may be in Dun Laoghaire in the world’s oldest complete purpose-built yacht club building of 1850 vintage, it has a strong international element in its membershipWhile the Royal Irish Yacht Club headquarters may be in Dun Laoghaire in the world’s oldest complete purpose-built yacht club building of 1850 vintage, it has a strong international element in its membership

Back in 1975, the social pace ashore in Cowes Week in a week of good weather was getting to be too much, and the word was spread among the Class I boats that the real scene of the action would be in the relative privacy of the midst of the marina where we found ourselves on Otto Glaser’s McGruer 47 Tritsch-Tratsch II, berthed in a pole position so convenient that some of the crew preferred to sleep on board rather than drag themselves to some distant digs where the tone would be set by nylon sheets.

SUMMER EVENINGS IN COWES WEEK

Things got going quietly enough, but then Davy McBride started to lead some very distinguished sailors astray with the Dunmore Diversion. This dated back to his boyhood summers in Dunmore East, when he and his brothers would attach a rope to the back of a bike and take it flying straight off the end of the pier, somehow with all three riding the thing.

If Cowes Week has been too hectic, the Fastnet Race is a real cure for whatever ails you. Here, the classic S&S yawl Dorade, overall winner in 1931 and 1933, makes a return visit in impressively restored style. Photo: RolexIf Cowes Week has been too hectic, the Fastnet Race is a real cure for whatever ails you. Here, the classic S&S yawl Dorade, overall winner in 1931 and 1933, makes a return visit in impressively restored style. Photo: Rolex

After a mighty splash, they would then swim to the shore, haul the bike back up onto the pier, and do it all over again. To repeat the performance in Cowes Marina in 1975, Davy only had to borrow a line and liberate a nice new bike meant for marina staff, complete with functioning lights. Thus as the performance got going on a repeat basis, the abiding memory is of the bike’s red rear light disappearing into the murky water after they’d ridden at full tilt off the end of the main marina walkway.

THE NOISE AND THE PEOPLE….

Everyone wanted a go, so at times the numbers riding the bike together were ridiculous. And the atmosphere went crazy, with the Brazilians building it up on their bongo drums. For once, it seemed I was the only sane one in the place, as soon all that I could think of was the extremely expensive topsides of the boats (not least our own) close on either side of this new bikeway, and beyond that the stratospherically expensive professional international sailing athletes who seemed determined to outdo each other in this hectic new sport, and damn the danger.

So I took a can of beer and sat down away from it all on the other side of Tritsch-Tratsch’s substantial mast for some sort of peace, to find there was a guy we knew, from regularly sailing against him, seeking a similar quiet spot for a beer on the Argentine boat Fortuna just across the way.

Knowing him as someone who had serious concerns ashore which he determinedly avoided by sailing with genuine enjoyment as much as possible, the two of us simply raised our beer cans in unvoiced salutation across the water, and shared the peace of the moment in a sort of companionable silence. Then in November, one of us became the King of Spain.

Published in W M Nixon
Tagged under

The Notice of Race and online entry has been published for the Unio-sponsored ICRA National Championships 2024 at the Royal Irish Yacht Club this August.

Organisers plan to split fleets into Class 0, Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 and Non-Spinnaker for the event that runs from 30th August- 1st September. Up to 100 yachts are expected to compete.

The Notice of Race is downloadable below.

There will be a maximum of four races on any day. Seven races are scheduled.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, this year’s ICRA Nationals mark the beginning of a unique series of major sailing championships hosted by the Royal Irish in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

The closing date for entries on this link is 19th August 2024.

Published in ICRA

The chance to discuss and debate the big issues in Irish cruiser racing is on the table in February at the ICRA National Conference and AGM on Saturday, 10th February 2024

The Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, which recently unveiled three major championship cruiser racer events for 2024, will host the annual pow-wow.

As Afloat previously reported, ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen has already been looking forward to a busy sailing calendar in 2024.

Last Friday, the South Coast Offshore Racing Association (SCORA) debated what defines a cruiser-racer at its AGM at Royal Cork Yacht Club, and that's an issue that may raise its head again in Dun Laoghaire.

 ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen

As well as main speakers and the sailor's forum there will be updates from the major events planned in the year, and an update on ICRA activities, followed by the AGM.

The conference will start at 10:30 am, followed by the AGM, and close at lunchtime.

The full agenda and more details will be issued later this month says Cullen.

Published in ICRA

The latest news on the Dun Laoghaire waterfront is that the J/109 Europeans 2024 will be part of this year’s intense series of cruiser/racer regattas at the Royal Irish YC in late August and early September. It’s an organisational breakthrough in line with the club’s overall thinking, as voiced by RIYC Sailing Manager Mark McGibney.

He reckons that if you get a visiting boat and crew to commit to one event, the fact that another is then readily available in a matter of days means that they’ll probably do that as well. They’ll thereby optimise the return on the significant logistical efforts that have been required to have the boat and crew in the right place at the right time and in proper order too.

Mark McGibney has been Sailing Manager of the Royal Irish YC for 31 years of continual improvement in the club’s functioning, while somehow also finding the time to be cox’n of the Dun Laoghaire lifeboatMark McGibney has been Sailing Manager of the Royal Irish YC for 31 years of continual improvement in the club’s functioning, while somehow also finding the time to be cox’n of the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat

In this options-rich but time-scarce era, sailing shares the problem of all participant sports in that it has to keep finding new event formats - or at least fresh ways to re-develop established championships - in order to facilitate the mutating interests and decreasing free time of those taking part.

At its most simple, it is easy to think it’s only a matter of finding a concentrated gold standard regatta concept, and then you simply add water. If only. For if we take a couple of steps back from our modern way of sailing, we realise that it’s wholly a vehicle sport. The additional and often challenging logistics of location precision for vehicle and crew alike indicates much personal effort and planning, as it can begin from a considerable distance if a campaign is planned in an event at another leading sailing centre.

The ICRA Nationals fleet (seen here in their 2023 championship at Howth) will start the three-event programme with their three-day Nationals on Dublin Bay on 30th August-1st September. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’BrienThe ICRA Nationals fleet (seen here in their 2023 championship at Howth) will start the three-event programme with their three-day Nationals on Dublin Bay on 30th August-1st September. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O’Brien

A CHALLENGE EVEN WITH ROAD-TRAILING

This is difficult even when the boat is easily road trailed. But when it’s a sizeable cruiser-racer, it sometimes happens that the racing itself is less effort and definitely more sport than the voyaging necessary to get the boat there.

This was fine when the boats really were cruiser-racers, and longer holiday periods meant you could cruise properly in relaxed style in getting to the next start. But in these days of 24/7 work attention for many folk, a ten day complete break is regarded as self-indulgence, and the three or four day long weekend format has taken over many once week-long events. Consequently time-constrained delivery trips are just that, and nothing more.

ROYAL IRISH CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAMME GIVES GREAT VALUE IN A FORTNIGHT

The line-up at the RIYC indicates some even greater time compression, with the headline events shaping up as:

  • IRISH CRUISER/RACING ASSOC. NATIONALS: 30th Aug – 1st September 2024
  • KEY YACHTING J CUP IRELAND (INC J/109 EUROS) 7th-8th September 2024
  • RORC IRC EUROS: 10th-15th September 2024

This means that although at first it seems as if you have the entire tail end of the season packed with top level events at the RIYC, the reality is that boats from elsewhere will only need to think of being in Dun Laoghaire for slightly more than a fortnight.

The underlying theory stems from the review undertaken by Ric Morris’s special committee some years ago to analyse which locations best suited the staging of the ICRA Nationals. He summed up their findings in the terse statement: “Follow The Numbers”. In other words, the ICRA Nats should preferably be staged in Top Tier sailing centres where there are many potential entrants already based. In terms of contemporary reality, this means Kinsale, Crosshaven, Dun Laoghaire and Howth.

The Scottish J/109 Jings has it every which way, as that symbol at the top of her mainsail indicates she is eligible to race with the RC35 fleet. She can also race as a J/109 either on IRC or One-Design, and beyond that she is eligible for the Round Ireland, the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle, and the Fastnet RacesThe Scottish J/109 Jings has it every which way, as that symbol at the top of her mainsail indicates she is eligible to race with the RC35 fleet. She can also race as a J/109 either on IRC or One-Design, and beyond that she is eligible for the Round Ireland, the Dun Laoghaire-Dingle, and the Fastnet Races

For the fact is that, unlike many other keen sailing countries, the average Irish sailor prefers to have his or her boat based almost within walking distance. We find it odd that people like a two-hour travel gap between home and boat in order to get in the right frame of mind to go sailing. And we find it even odder that there’s such an organisation as the Chipping Norton Yacht Club, remotely rural in England’s Cotswold Hills, with the members gathering mid-week in an ancient country pub, attired in their sailing clothes, to discuss the previous weekend’s RORC race in the English Channel.

But today we’ll by-pass the corollary of that, which might be the conclusion that if you have to regularly travel for some hours to go racing under sail, then you’ll put more effort into it than those who are only minutes from home. For if someone living in the greater Dun Laoghaire area happens to have a J/109, in 2024 they’re getting the best of many worlds, often within sight of home.

J CUP AN INSTANT SUCCESS

One of 2023’s new events was the Key Yachting J Cup Ireland in late August, also at the RIYC. J/Boat people are something of a tribe within themselves. For sure, most of their larger craft can be comfortably cruised, and many do, but there’s no doubting that the majority are in it for the racing game. Thus when the J Cup Ireland was first proposed, it was assumed that such a bright idea must have arisen years ago, but for some reason had failed to ignite.

Not so, although there was some post-covid delay. Yet it simply arose for the 2023 season, and in jig time achieved the instant success which made for one of the highlights of the year despite its compressed two day format, with J Boat crews feeding off each other’s enthusiasm to such an extent that we now feel it has been on the go for years.

History in the making. J/80 skipper Pat O’Neill (HYC) is the first winner of the J Cup Ireland after 2023’s tough championship at the RIYC. He is seen here (left) with Mark Mansfield (J Boats Ireland, and Commodore Jerry Dowling (RIYC). Photo: Key YachtingHistory in the making. J/80 skipper Pat O’Neill (HYC) is the first winner of the J Cup Ireland after 2023’s tough championship at the RIYC. He is seen here (left) with Mark Mansfield (J Boats Ireland, and Commodore Jerry Dowling (RIYC). Photo: Key Yachting

Yet the fact is that now Pat O’Neill of Howth is written into the sailing records as being the first overall winner of the J Cup Ireland with his internationally-successful J/80 Mojo, while Barry Cunningham of the host club won the hyper-hot J/109s under the One-Design format with Chimaera, and Johnny Murphy from Howth with Outrajeous won the IRC division, and then went on to win the ICRA Nationals at his home port.

CONCENTRATION OF LATER EVENTS BALANCES EARLY SEASON PROLIFERATION OF MAJORS

Another factor in the need to pile so much into a fortnight-plus in late season reflects the time-consuming reality of established early and mid-season pillar events. Late May sees both the Wave Regatta at Howth, and the Scottish Series at Tarbert. Then in June there’s the SSE Renewables Round Ireland race from Wicklow, while July has Volvo Cork Week at Crosshaven, with an early July re-staging of the 1860-founded Kingstown to Queenstown Race – aka the Dublin Bay to Cork Harbour Race – being run as a useful feeder of enormous historical significance,

After Volvo Cork Week, before anyone has a chance to get focused on positioning boats in Dun Laoghaire for some or all of the Royal Irish late season offerings, there’s Calves Week at Schull. This is something of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as it portrays itself as a modern take on the easygoing West Cork Regattas of yore, but the racing is razor sharp.

EVERYTHING TO BE IN PLACE AT ROYAL IRISH

All of this does mean that by the time the SailFest gets going back in Dun Laoghaire, there’s a danger that some competing folk might already have becoming jaded, but by making the focal point the Royal Irish YC, with its unique location right on Dun Laoghaire Marina where it provides such comprehensive facilities that noted racers such as Paul O’Higgins’s JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI and Pete Smyth’s Sunfast 3600 are dry-sailed, they can guarantee a world class regatta base.

RIGHT PEOPLE ON THE JOB

But even with the best of facilities in place, it’s not worth a row of beans without experienced can-do experts in the key roles, and in addition to having the multi-talented Mark McGibney permanently in his overall managerial role, they have the hugely experienced Fintan Cairns chairing a small but powerful Overall Committee which will be keeping a close eye on how the three big events are taking shape, and when and if synergies can be activated between them.

Fintan Cairns when he stood down after serving his term as Commodore Dublin Bay SC twenty years ago. He continues to serve sailing in Ireland in many capacitiesFintan Cairns when he stood down after serving his term as Commodore Dublin Bay SC twenty years ago. He continues to serve sailing in Ireland in many capacities

We did a profile on Fintan a while back here, and he continues to be a quiet force for the good in Irish sailing. It was typical of him that when he stood down from being Commodore of Dublin Bay Sailing Club in 2002, he promptly set about with the late Jim Donegan of Crosshaven and Denis Kiely of Kinsale to bring the Irish Cruiser-Racer Association into being, thereby providing an effective focal point for a large but amorphous sector in Irish sailing, while today in Dun Laoghaire his organisational interests include the annual Turkey Shoot series leading up to Christmas, and the Spring Chicken series which gets under way again next month.

SPECIALIST SUB-COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN

Each event will have its own organisational setup, with ICRA being much-involved in its own championship, while the RIYC’s Paul McCarthy is Chairing the Committee running the J/Cup and Euros, and former RIYC flag officer Patrick Burke of the keenly-sailed First 40.7 Prima Forte heads up the group running the big one, the IRC Europeans.

Patsy Burke is a serious person, yet his favourite selfie is this cheerful sunrise person aboard Prima Forte, saluting the dawn with the Royal Irish colours. Photo: Patrick BurkePatsy Burke is a serious person, yet his favourite selfie is this cheerful sunrise person aboard Prima Forte, saluting the dawn with the Royal Irish colours. Photo: Patrick Burke

GOLD AND SILVER FLEETS IN IRC EUROS?

Admittedly with the J/109 Europeans now added to the J Cup Ireland, the overall architecture of this very important fortnight has been somewhat re-balanced in terms of event significance. But by having the IRC Europeans in the heart of a large-fleet sailing centre, Patsy Burke has had to develop some innovative thinking to give some locally-focussed boats an extra incentive to take part, with a selection of mid-fleet awards.

When I suggested that this would amount to Gold and Silver fleets, he demurred, as there would be no formal fleet-placing division at mid-series. But nevertheless that’s the way the ordinary sailors are going to see it. In fact, with some very hot-shot overseas boats and crews bringing the IRC Euros at the Royal Irish YC on Dublin Bay in September into focus, the waterfront pundits will be suggesting that there should be Gold, Silver, Bronze and Leather Divisions in the final tally to make sure that some of the trophies stay at home.

Follow the Numbers….By staging three major events in close succession at Dun Laoghaire, the Royal Irish YC underlines just how conveniently its location relates to a large population and a good sailing areaFollow the Numbers….By staging three major events in close succession at Dun Laoghaire, the Royal Irish YC underlines just how conveniently its location relates to a large population and a good sailing area

Published in W M Nixon
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Dun Laoghaire Harbour will move centre-stage in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar in 2024 when the club's European IRC Championships will be held for the first time in Dún Laoghaire by the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

It will be part of RORC's Season's Points Championship, which is the world's largest offshore racing series. Last year, 9223 sailors raced in an astounding variety of 729 offshore certified boats.

RORC Season's Points Championship is the world's largest Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORCRORC Season's Points Championship is the world's largest Photo: Paul Wyeth/RORC

Over the past ten editions of the RORC Season’s Points Championship, the overall winning boat has always been under 47ft (14.33m) and, more often than not, crewed by a Corinthian team. The overall winner is decided by the IRC Rating Rule, jointly administered by the RORC and the UNCL Pôle Course du YCF. The overall trophies in nearly all the world's blue riband offshore races are awarded using the IRC rating system.

The 2024 RORC Season’s Points Championship is already underway; the first points-scoring race was the Rolex Middle Sea Race held in October. Class winners for the RORC Season are decided by the best five race results over the season which ends in September 2024. The overall win for the Jazz Trophy goes to the boat with the most points from all of the scoring races.

The Season's Points Championship features high-performance multihulls racing under the MOCRA RuleThe Season's Points Championship features high-performance multihulls racing under the MOCRA Rule

IRC time correction gives an equal chance of winning to a huge variety of boats with professional teams racing against pro-am, as well as passionate Corinthian crews. The Championship features high-performance multihulls racing under the MOCRA Rule and the pocket-rocket Class40s, which have been a feature of the Championship for over a decade. Each contest is highly competitive with trophies and races dating back over 100 years. Winning any race in the RORC Season’s Points Championship is worthy of praise and celebration.

The RORC Caribbean 600 race is an early fixture in the 2024 Season's Points ChampionshiThe RORC Caribbean 600 race is an early fixture in the 2024 Season's Points Championship

The next two scoring races are the RORC Transatlantic Race and the RORC Caribbean 600. After that, all the RORC Season's Points Championship races are held in Northern Europe with the vast majority starting on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, Cowes.

The RORC 2024 Racing Calendar is here

During 2024, the Royal Ocean Racing Club is organising or assisting with four inshore racing events. The RORC Easter Challenge, The GBR IRC National Championships, The Vice Admiral’s Cup and the IRC European Championships. All of the inshore regattas will feature multiple races per day on technical windward leeward racecourses or longer inshore races.

The RORC Easter Challenge runs from 29th – 31st March in Cowes, IOW Photo: Paul WyethThe RORC Easter Challenge runs from 29th – 31st March in Cowes, IOW Photo: Paul Wyeth

For over 20 years, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has held a training regatta over the Easter Weekend. World Sailing Rules on outside assistance are relaxed, so for no additional cost to the teams, hand-picked coaches can provide pin-point assistance to get crews of any level up to speed. Three days of racing are organised in The Solent from Easter Friday to Easter Sunday.

The GBR IRC Nationals will be held from the 25th – 27th May in Poole, Dorset Photo: Paul WyethThe GBR IRC Nationals will be held from the 25th – 27th May in Poole, Dorset Photo: Paul Wyeth

The GBR IRC National Championships was first held in 1999 and for the first time the championships will be held as part of International Paint Poole Regatta. Multiple races will be held in Poole Bay and adjacent waters. In over two decades of competition the overall win has been achieved by a huge variety of boats. Individual IRC Class National Champions will also be decided.

The RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup will run from 6th – 8th September and 14th -15th September at Cowes, IOW Photo: Paul WyethThe RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup will run from 6th – 8th September and 14th -15th September at Cowes, IOW Photo: Paul Wyeth

This year the racing is split over two weekends and is being organised by RORC and the Royal Thames Yacht Club. With an accent on one-design racing the first weekend will be for the Cape31 and J/70 classes, whilst the second weekend will host the Performance 40, J/111, J/109, HP30 and Quarter ton classes. The Vice Admiral’s Cup has always featured a full social programme. The RORC Cowes Clubhouse will be regatta central for fun filled evening entertainment, especially the Prize Givings.

The IRC European Championships will run from the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire from the 10th to15th September Photo: DLR/Simon BerrowThe IRC European Championships will run from the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire from the 10th to15th September Photo: DLRCoCo/Simon Berrow

As Afloat previously reported, the 2024 European Championships will be held for the first time in Dún Laoghaire by the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Three days of action with multiple races per day will be held in Dún Laoghaire and adjacent waters. A strong Irish presence is expected as well as teams from England, Scotland and Wales, plus likely participation from teams from all over Northern Europe. No doubt the atmosphere at the RIYC will be as charged as the racing in Dublin Bay.

The RORC Race Team of Steve Cole and Janet Grosvenor Photo: RORCThe RORC Race Team of Steve Cole and Janet Grosvenor Photo: RORC

RORC Racing Manager Steve Cole and the RORC Race Team are excited about the 2024 Season. “Despite 2024 not being a ‘Fastnet Year’, the RORC Race Team are preparing and planning for a very busy season with 16 offshore races and four inshore regattas, including the IRC National and European Championships,” commented Steve Cole. “The RORC Cowes Clubhouse is undergoing a major redevelopment this winter and unfortunately will not be ready for the Easter Challenge. However, thanks to the support of the Royal Yacht Squadron, the post-race debriefings will take place in the RYS pavilion. Once the RORC Clubhouse and its purpose-designed building is ready, it will also become home to the RORC Race Office, as well as a superb venue for Club Members and their guests to enjoy social events. The RORC has always co-operated with other yacht clubs and we will be giving full support to the championship regattas in Poole and Dublin.”

Published in RORC

In 2024, the Royal Irish Yacht Club (RIYC) in Dun Laoghaire Harbour will host a unique schedule of major sailing championships, promising three weeks of 'premiere keelboat racing', representing a major boost to sailing on the capital's waters. 

ICRA Nationals 2024

As Afloat reported previously, the events will kick off with the 2024 Irish Cruiser Racing Asociation (ICRA) National Championships, where yachts from all classes will compete on exciting Dublin Bay courses.

The Royal Irish Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour (pictured bottom left) will host a unique schedule of major sailing championships, promising three weeks of 'premiere keelboat racing' on Dublin Bay in 2024 The Royal Irish Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire Harbour (pictured at bottom right) will host a unique schedule of major sailing championships, promising three weeks of 'premiere keelboat racing' on Dublin Bay (above) in 2024 

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association's National Championship is an annual event that has taken place every autumn since the very first Championship race in 2003 and is expected to produce up to 100 boats for its 2024 edition on Dublin Bay at the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: AfloatThe Irish Cruiser Racing Association's National Championship is an annual event that has taken place every autumn since the very first Championship race in 2003 and is expected to produce up to 100 boats for its 2024 edition on Dublin Bay at the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

The national championships are scheduled to run from Friday, 30th August to Sunday, 1st September, and the shoreside entertainment is expected to be plentiful, the RIYC says. 

The event is timed to follow the last Thursday night race of the Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) season.

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association's National Championship will provide for IRC Cruisers in IRC Zero, One, Two, Three and White Sail divisions Photo: AfloatThe Irish Cruiser Racing Association's National Championship will provide for IRC Cruisers in IRC Zero, One, Two, Three and White Sail divisions Photo: Afloat

J Cup Ireland

Crews of J boats will barely have time to hose down their yachts and fold away their sails before the Key Yachting J Cup Ireland kicks off with preliminaries in the RIYC on Friday, 6th September 2024. 

J24 racing will be one of the divisions featured in the J Cup Ireland at the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: AfloatJ24 racing will be one of the divisions featured in the J Cup Ireland at the Royal Irish Yacht Club next September Photo: Afloat

This successful event was first run in the RIYC in 2023, and it returns with back-to-back racing on the weekend of Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th September 2024.

Racing over three consecutive weekends, from August 30th to September 1st, the Royal Irish Yacht Club will stage the ICRA Nationals 2024, then the Key Yachting J-Cup Ireland 2024 and conclude with the IRC European Championships 2024 on 10th to 15th September Photo: AfloatRacing over three consecutive weekends, from August 30th, the Royal Irish Yacht Club will stage the ICRA Nationals 2024, then the Key Yachting J-Cup Ireland 2024 and conclude with the IRC European Championships 2024 on 10th to 15th September Photo: Afloat

Organisers expect strong interest from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, given the opportunity to race in the ICRA's and/or the IRC Europeans the week before and the week after.

The ease of delivery from Dartmouth to Dun Laoghaire is expected to result in additional entries, especially after the Dartmouth Royal Regatta, which includes the UK National Championships.

IRC Europeans

The three weeks of competition will be crowned by the IRC European Championships, scheduled to run from 12th – 15th September 2024.

A number of strong Irish entries, including ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen and Nigel Biggs's Beneteau 50 Checkmate XV (above), are expected for September's IRC European Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: AfloatA number of strong Irish entries, including ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen and Nigel Biggs's Beneteau 50 Checkmate XV (above), are expected for September's IRC European Championships at the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

The event will be run with the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC), bringing the cream of Grand Prix cruiser racers to Dun Laoghaire, promising to be a spectacular event for both participants and spectators.

The RIYC is partnering with the RORC to prepare a format inclusive of racing for Club, Regatta, and Professional sailors.

The 2024 IRC European Championships will include racing for Club, Regatta, and Professional sailors at Dun Laoghaire Photo: AfloatThe 2024 IRC European Championships will include racing for Club, Regatta, and Professional sailors at Dun Laoghaire Photo: Afloat

The events' consecutive scheduling allows visiting boats to come and compete in their pick of top-level racing and enjoy some downtime with friends and family. Dublin is only 20 minutes away by metro and is full of sights and experiences for fellow travellers and Coldplay fans alike.

The Preliminary Notice of Race will be issued in the next few weeks, with enthusiastic participation in the events expected, says the RIYC.

Royal Irish Yacht Club Commodore, Jerry DowlingRoyal Irish Yacht Club Commodore, Jerry Dowling has unveiled three major sailing championships for his Dun Laoghaire club in 2024

“We are delighted to be hosting this unique sailing jamboree in the Royal Irish Yacht Club next year. Our club’s excellent facilities, under the stewardship of our sailing manager, Mark McGibney, are being geared up to welcome all the sailors and guests. It is a wonderful opportunity for Dun Laoghaire to show the world what a fantastic location it is for yacht racing. There are many attractions for the visiting crews, their family and friends to enjoy,” said RIYC Commodore Jerry Dowling.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
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