With over 85 expressions of interest and some 35 sailors of all ages gathering in the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin on Wednesday the 16th December to meet, discuss and commit to short handed yacht racing in Ireland. It looks like this type of sailing is going to become a prominent feature on the Irish sailing scene.The meeting began with a short video shown by Paul Ó Riain of his participation in La Solitaire du Figaro 2007 (the Figaro). This was followed by a slide show presentation given by Barry Hurley about his success in the Ostar 2009 (Original Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race) and his experience racing on the Petit Bateau circuit, now called the “Solo Offshore Racing Club”. www.offshoresolo.com
Olivier Prouveur (sailing manager at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire) presented an excellent overview of short handed yacht racing across the UK, France and the rest of the world detailing the classes, the boats and the likely future options which could be looked at to develop this kind of racing in Ireland.
The meeting opened up to the floor where other prominent Irish short handed sailors, including Cian McCarthy, Michael Boyd and Mick Liddy outlined their experiences of Class Mini, Class Forty, Open 40, short handed IRC handicap racing and record attempts.
There was huge enthusiasm from the meetings participants to see initiatives put in place to develop a circuit in Irish waters in 2010 and beyond. There was general agreement to develop things gradually and keep in line with developments internationally. It was agreed to develop a series which would cater for the existing fleet of boats which normally sail under IRC handicapping and to see if a series can be facilitated within existing events like for example ISORA (Irish Sea Offshore Racing Association). It was also agreed that it would be desirable to look at developing a one-design or box rule class long term. To kick this off the 10 SailFleet J80’s owned by the Irish Sailing Association have been booked for 10/11 July 2010 for a series of double handed coastal races out of the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire.
A primary objective for next season will be the establishment of a series & ultimately the crowning of an Irish Short Handed Yacht Racing Champion next Autumn.
A committee was formed of which Olivier Prouveur was voted as President, Mick Liddy Vice President, Cian Mc Carthy South Coast Contact, Barry Hurley UK Liaison and Paul Ó Riain Public Relations.
Minurtes of the meeting are here.