About the Irish Etchells Class
The Irish Etchells class was hatched by a few Dublin sailors over pints in late 2003 and a number of sailors committed to buy boats for the 2004 season. By the end of the 2004 season there were 11 Etchells registered with the newly formed Irish Class association. All of these 11 boats sailed from Howth Yacht Club on Dublin’s north shores. Howth Yacht Club has been very enthusiastic in its support of the new class and has given its backing to the objectives of the class association in promoting an international one design keelboat. At the end of the 2005 sailing season there were 19 registered Etchells actively sailing in Howth. Click here for all the latest Etchells News and updates.
The 2009 season promises to push the class numbers up to 26. A new fleet in Dun Laoghaire located on Dublin’s south shore has begun with currently 4 boats lining out and a promise of a new fleet in Cork where three boats are located.
The class has run the Irish Nationals in 2004 and 2005 and the European Championships in 2005 all hosted by Howth YC. These events were supported very well by the UK Etchells fleets. In 2004 triple Americas Cup winner Russell Coutts sailed in our National Championships. In 2005 our events attracted another triple Americas Cup winner, Dennis Connor in addition to entries from Italy and New Zealand and renewed support from the UK Etchells fleet. The Irish Class fully appreciates the support given by the international fleets and promises to bring the Irish Etchells Fleet from strength to strength.
The Irish Class Association has a short to medium term goal, to bring an Etchells World Championships to Ireland and in particular to Howth Yacht Club, this would see the best of the best in International Yacht racing competing in local waters against our local fleets.
The Irish Class Association also puts its greatest emphasis on regular weekly club racing for all Etchells owners as it is all to aware that classes can come to an end if there is to much emphasis on travelling to events rather than support for the local fleet. In saying that, the boat is an international one design which has strong fleets in USA, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Bermuda, France, Italy and Israel, and through the class loaner boat ethos, travelling is attractive, in moderation, allowing club sailors to compete in National, Continental and World Championships.
(Above courtesy of Echells Ireland)
Graham Smith wrote in Afloat's March 2009 issue: "After the initial enthusiasm, the Etchells Class hasn’t progressed beyond the 28 boats at two clubs, but quality makes up for quantity, if the calibre of people attracted to racing it is anything to go by. The local aficionados will be looking for some growth over the year ahead as the class gears up for the 2010 World Championships being hosted by Howth.
This year’s Worlds were in Chicago with five Irish boats in action. Former Olympian David Burrows had the best overall result (26th) while ‘Ladies Who Launch’ (Mary O’Loughlin and her all-female crew) received the prestigious International Sportsmanship award presented at every Worlds.
David Burrows was also the best of the Irish (second) at the Irish Nationals in Howth where Britain’s Stuart Childerley headed the 19-strong fleet. National Champion: Stuart Childerley, UK"
There is a space for Irish boating clubs and racing classes to use as their own bulletin board and forum for announcements and discussion. If you want to see a dedicated forum slot for your club or class, click here