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With the advent of 2011, preparations are now well under way for the holding of the ISAF World Team Racing Championships at Schull from August 27th, 2011 to September 23rd, 2011 writes Claire Bateman. It is a major triumph for the village of Schull, Co. Cork to host the World Championships. The organising committee on behalf of the Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre (FMOEC) was set up in 1997 and is an adjunct of Schull Community College and the facilities function under the auspices of the Cork County Educational Committee. As Schull is a village community this event will be seen as a community undertaking and the Schull Development Association will be a co-operating organising authority.

The event will be sailed in TR3.6 dinghies which are not too dissimilar to a firefly and 26 boats will be built locally at a cost of €5000.00 each. The hulls will be manufactured in Midleton and the sails will be built by the local sailmaker, Fastnet Sails, in West Cork. So far twelve boats have been sponsored. One of these has been sponsored by Schull Harbour Sailing Club where members have come up with a novel idea to sponsor a second boat. This is a one hundred club where members and their friends each contribute €50.00 towards the project.

Team Racing is a very popular branch of sailing where everything happens very quickly and there is no better school for tactical decision making and understanding of the rules with six boats at a time performing an intricate and aggressive dance where two teams of three race to try and achieve a winning combination of places – with the lowest score winning.

ISAF wish to invite 28 teams to participate at the event in August with teams coning from as far away as Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. with the host country having three teams. Teams are also expected from Italy, Japan, Poland, the U.K. France and Croatia.

Further information or queries regarding sponsorship for this exciting World Championship can obtained from Mr. Tim O'Connor, Principal, Schull Community College at [email protected] or Mr. David Harte, Manager, FMOEC at [email protected]

Schull is a unique part of Ireland for sailing and socialising. The scenery is breath taking, the sailing waters are magnificent, the reputation for organisation of major events is second to none and all our good wishes for the successful running of this major undertaking are with the organisers.

Published in Team Racing

Last weekend's The Irish Team Racing Association National Team Racing Championships attracted it's largest entry for many years, with 21 teams registered.

The event was hosted by the Fastnet Marine and Outdoor Education Centre in Schull, West Cork.

Four teams travelled over from the UK, and 6 under 19 teams, all from County Cork, competed. They joined the keenest of the post-college teams and the leading university teams to constitute the largest Championships that Ireland has seen for many years. Schull, the venue for next year's World Championship, was a major attraction, but the change of date, from March to November, has made it easier for college students and school pupils to attend.

team_race

Weekend Team Racing action from Schull. More photos HERE. Photos: Brian Carlin

The weather forecasts had been predicting storms, floods and general mayhem for days if not weeks beforehand. But Saturday dawned to reveal Schull Harbour in an unusual state – the wind had disappeared! Racing started 3 hours later than planned. However, by the end of the day the first round had been completed. This was a seeded round robin, with each of the four League made up of a UK team, a leading Irish team, a leading college team and two others, including the youth teams.
The results of the first round determined entry into the second round – all the UK teams won all four leagues, with the George Knights, the George Gladiators, Supertroopers and UCD finishing second. These teams were joined in the Gold Leagues of the second round by the winners of play-offs between third place teams. The Bumsby Babes, a youth team from Royal Cork YC, had done well to win 2 races to qualify for a play-off against University of Limerick and they were in a strong position when equipment failure meant that one of their boats retired . In the subsequent re-sail UL managed to win the race and qualify.

On Sunday morning Schull was looking it's best in bright but cold sunshine. Unfortunately, the beauties of the West Cork landscape were exactly mirrored in the unruffled water of the harbour! Competitors, who had made a remarkable effort to arrive on time for an 0900 start, barely recovered from the reception organised the previous evening by the World Championship Committee, waited. When racing eventually got underway, in a fitful breeze, it quickly became obvious that there was no possibility of finishing the second round. Plan B was implemented, a knockout round between the four winners of Round One to determine the outright winner, another between the 4 Irish team placed second in the Round One Leagues to determine the ISA medal places and a Youth round.

GP14 World Champion Ian Dobson in Schull

Spinnaker came through the semis and final to win overall first place. The two Royal St George teams qualified for the final. Last year's winners, the Gladiators won the first race only after finishing places were confirmed by a redress hearing. However, the more experienced Knights went on to win the next to races to reclaim the trophy they had "lent" to the Gladiators last year. The third place play-off, which saw some of the noisiest races of the weekend, resulted in a win by Supertroopers over UCD.

In the Youth event Schull A beat Schull B to win the opportunity to take on, and eventually defeat the Bumsby Babes.

Next year's Championship will be sailed out of the Royal St. George on 12-13 November. However the next challenge for Irish team racers will be qualification for the World Championship, with selection trials planned for both the Youth and Open categories early in 2011.

The event was also the first opportunity to try the new TR3.6 which will be used for the Team Racing Worlds. Video below of the new TR3.6 and voice over from Team Racing World organiser David Harte in Schull. Stills by Brian Carlin HERE.

 

Published in Team Racing

I have long admired the commitment and dedication to sailing of David Harte in Schull. With his design of the TR 3.6 he has achieved what may well prove to be the ideal boat for team racing. This aspect of sailing is proving very popular amongst younger sailors. In the past few months I have been watching and reporting on the development of the sport by Match Racing Ireland which is now an integral part of the Irish Sailing Association. There is an excitement and enthusiasm which is good for the sport.

Now Schull and David Harte are adding a new dimension with the TR 3.6 which seems a bit like a Firefly when you look at it first, but then there are clear differences in design. The 3.6, a two-person dinghy, is just that in length. "It is robust, cheap to produce and the first boat customised for team racing. This is a boat for people who don't own a boat. It is a boat made for a situation where different crews will be using it and it has to be able to stand up to that pressure. I looked at the concept of the Firefly and then adapted it to what will prove to be a good boat for team racing," David told me.

The boat was shown for the first time at the announcement that Schull will host the ISAF Team Racing World Championships which will be held in the West Cork harbour in 2011. Twenty-four teams from around the world will compete, with the Fastnet Outdoor Education Centre as the base. It has a proven record of success in teaching sailing as a curricular subject at the adjacent Schull Community College which, through the foresight of the Cork County Vocational Education Committee, established this approach several years ago.

David Harte manages the operation. The success of the Schull students in winning the British championships this year, as well as their progress in the sport elsewhere after they leave the college is a testimony to his success.

Next weekend the Irish Team Racing Championships will be held in Schull, with 18 teams from around the country competing "and 40 per cent of the helms will come from Schull," David told me with a satisfied smile, which he deserves to have.

It is intended to raise funding for a fleet of 25 new TR 3.6 boats which Schull will provide for the world championships. Afterwards the boats will remain there, providing more years of sailing for young people. A sponsorship project has been launched and already seven boats have been funded. It is intended to build the boats in Cork and to have the sails made there. The world championships are scheduled to start on Saturday, August 27, 2011.

Photos of the new design afloat HERE

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation

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