Displaying items by tag: ICRA
John Maybury's Joker II staked her claim to the class one title in the opening day of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships sponsored by Frank Keane BMW on Dublin Bay today with two wins.
A full schedule marked the opening day of the Championships where back to back winners featured in five out of six divisions sailed.
Organised by the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, 93 boats from 24 clubs and venues around Ireland are competing for five national titles, the overall trophy and an Under 25’s competition.
Division Zero had a four-hour coastal course that saw Paul O’Higgins from the Royal Irish Yacht Club on Rockabill VI emerge as winner as the first of three races for the series. “We’re definitely not counting our chickens, for sure,” he said afterwards. “Tomorrow could start with stronger breeze but finish lighter going by the forecast - that wouldn’t suit us at the lower end of the handicap range.”
The remaining divisions completed two scheduled races split across two-course areas on Dublin Bay, both of which managed to deliver a flicking breeze (from 010 degrees) ranging from eight to 14 knots at times though easing inshore as the afternoon progressed.
Defending Division One champion John Maybury on Joker II, who completed a hat-trick of titles in 2017 opened his 2019 defence with two back to back to wins with three J109’s taking the overnight lead.
ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell on Outrageous from Howth Yacht Club leads the pursuing pack in second overall on just the second event for his new boat. Tactician Mark Mansfield is also looking forward to fresher weather to upset the standings: “If there’s a bit more breeze, tomorrow might be quite different,” the Olympic veteran said.
Division Two saw Johnny Swan’s Half-tonner Harmony from Howth Yacht Club take an early lead, again with two back to back wins for the day.
Once again, a fresher breeze on Saturday will be welcomed. “It’s really tough competition - the half-tonners are being sailed really well,” commented Rob O’Leary, skipper of the modified 1720 Sportsboat Antix Beag from Baltimore Sailing Club. “We’re expecting more breeze tomorrow so we’re hoping our recent modifications will pay off.”
Not only did the leader in Division Three manage to continue the back to back theme for the day, but the top four boats in the 20-strong fleet repeated their results in the second race of the day that sees Rory Fekkes on F’n Gr’8 from Carrickfergus Sailing Club lead the field.
Second-placed is Brendan Foley’s Running Wild from the host club. “We’re (also) looking forward to more breeze tomorrow and we’ll have an extra person on board so we’ll be fully powered up in 12-15 knots,” said crew-member Mark Hennessy who is Rear-Commodore (Sailing) of the Royal St. George Yacht Club.
Only four out of the six entries in Division Four competed on the first day, the smallest turnout of the event that was nonetheless won with back to back wins by Philip O’Dwyer’s Supernova from the Royal Irish Yacht Club.
Division Five is a White Sails event competing for the ICRA Corithian Cup and the opening day was won, for good measure with back to back wins, by Windsor Lauden and Steffi Ennis on Demelza from Howth Yacht Club.
Full results here
One of the few boats with the potential to break the stranglehold of the J109 type in the very competitive class one of this weekend's ICRA National Championships has been forced out of the Royal St. George competition due to mast damage.
Colin Byrne, of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, who has sailed to so much success in his Danish built XP33 design previously won the ICRA title in 2013 when the championships sailed at Tralee Bay in County Kerry.
Byrne’s IRC cruiser one fleet, with over 20 boats competing, is one of the strongest of all ICRA’s classes, bucking the trend for IRC classes nationwide and in the UK.
But in an unfortunate twist, Byrne will not now contest the championships on his local waters. "We are out, I'm afraid! Mast not yet fixed and unlikely to be for a few weeks yet. Such is life!" he told Afloat.
Anyone of nine J109s, a cruiser one type that has proved so potent on the Bay’s inshore regatta circuit and offshore across the Irish Sea is tipped to take the title here.
Class One's hierarchy may be well documented here but a last-minute crew line up announced for Brian Jones's J109 Jelly Baby from Royal Cork poses a potential upset on Dublin Bay if the current hype at the Royal St. George venue is to be believed.
Hotshot 49er Olympic campaign skiff crew Seafra Guilfoyle will be tactician, Johnny Durcan, Laser youth champ, 49er and Moth sailor is driving, Cian Byrne, ex-49er crew and just back from the Moth Europeans is on the mainsheet. All three are from Crosshaven. Dublin 49er crew Adam Hyland is expected to add local knowledge.
Irish University keelboat national championships winners, Ewan O'Keeffe and Mark Murphy from CIT are manning the forward end of the boat, along with owner Brian Jones and Steve Ryan.
It's a youthful and talented line up in which Jones is the only member over 25, but it is as yet an untested crew...
Tomorrow's ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay will pay tribute to the late Tom Power, the former navigator and tactician on George Sisk's series of WOW cruiser racer campaigns who died last Saturday.
Tom, whose life was celebrated at a packed gathering at the Maritime Museum in Dun Laoghaire yesterday, was a stalwart of Irish offshore sailing going back to the Admiral's Cup era. He was a former Fastnet Race and Round Ireland Race winner as well as a long-standing member of the Royal Irish Yacht Club.
Both ICRA committee boats will sound one long blast prior to the start of race one on Friday morning for a minute's silence in Tom's honour on his beloved Dublin Bay race track.
Dublin Bay Sailing Club (DBSC) who had cancelled its racing programme this Saturday at the request of the organisers of this weekend's ICRA championships on Dublin Bay now say that there is now a possibility of running some DBSC racing from one of its Committee Boats, that is not now required for the ICRA event.
In an announcement to members on the DBSC website, Hon Sec Chris Moore says "Hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club, this event originally prompted DBSC to cancel all regular racing for the 8th June. It now transpires there will be fewer courses used by ICRA in the bay, and therefore less congestion, resulting in the possibility of at least running a “No Points” Green fleet programme from Committee boat Freebird, which is not now required for the ICRA Championships"
DBSC Race times will be as usual, but the race area may have to be changed to suit the bay activity.
ICRA is experimenting with some new class type options with similar type boats ensured of being in the same division.
Division 0 boats will sail coastal type courses instead of the windward-leeward/round the cans that the other divisions will sail.
The 2019 ICRA championships class splits are published below. Details supplied by ICRA.
|Boat Name||Boat Type/ model||Sail Number||Division||Confirmed IRC|
|Forty Licks||First 40||GBR4041R||Division 0||No IRC cert|
|Eleuthera||Grand soleil 44 race||NED7025||Division 0||1.111|
|aquelina||j-112e||irl 1507||Division 0||1.058|
|Rockabill VI||JPK 10.80||IRL10800||Division 0||1.053|
|Tsunami||First 40.7||IRL1484||Division 0||1.052|
|D-TOX||X-Yacht||IRL 13500||Division 0||1.041|
|Hot Cookie||Jeanneau Sunfast 3600||GBR7536R||Division 0||1.041|
|Prima Luce||First 35||IRL3504||Division 0||1.016|
|HiJacKer||Ker 32||GBR732R||Division 1||No IRC cert|
|VALKERIE||KER31||7031T||Division 1||No IRC cert|
|Sidetrack||J35||GBR6907R||Division 1||No IRC cert|
|Nieulargo||Grand Soleil 40 B+C||IRL 2129||Division 1||1.035|
|JustTina||Grand Soleil 34||IRL 1586||Division 1||1.02|
|Bon Exemple||XP33||GBR8933R||Division 1||1.017|
|Gringo||A35||IRL 7778||Division 1||1.015|
|Juggerknot 2||J/99||IRL 3990||Division 1||1.014|
|Ruth||j109||IRL 1383||Division 1||1.012|
|Outrajeous||J109||IRL 19109||Division 1||1.012|
|Indecision||J109||IRL 9898||Division 1||1.01|
|Jelly Baby||J109||IRL9609||Division 1||1.01|
|White Mischief||J109||GBR1242R||Division 1||1.01|
|Joker II||J109||IRL1206||Division 1||1.009|
|Dear prudence||J109||1095||Division 1||1.009|
|SOMETHING ELSE||J109||IRL29213||Division 1||1.009|
|Powder Monkey||J109||IRL 28898||Division 1||1.009|
|Flashback||First 34.7||IRL 3470||Division 2||No IRC cert|
|RAPTOR||MILLS 3 CR||IRL811||Division 2||1.008|
|Zuri||Hanse 370e||IRL1906||Division 2||1.008|
|Supergroove||Dibley Eagle 8M||GBR4100L||Division 2||0.999|
|RSGYC1-U25||J80||123||Division 2||No IRC cert|
|RSGYC2-U25||J80||12345||Division 2||No IRC cert|
|NYC U25||J80||001||Division 2||No IRC cert|
|Antix Beag||1720 Mod||IRL 17200||Division 2||Late submission allowed|
|Rope Dock - Equinox||X-332||IRL 1332||Division 2||0.978|
|Lambay Rules||J97||IRL 9970||Division 2||0.975|
|WINDJAMMER||J97||IRL 2597||Division 2||0.973|
|Ruthless||Corby 26||IRL 26026||Division 2||0.958|
|Artful Dodger||Elan 333||IRL 3330||Division 2||0.957|
|Mata||Andrieu half ton||Irl2794||Division 2||0.948|
|Checkmate XVIII||Half Tonner||GBR 66R||Division 2||No IRL cert|
|Miss Whiplash||Half Tinner||GBR 5435R||Division 2||0.952|
|Harmony||Half Tonner||irl1484||Division 2||0.951|
|Checkmate XV||Half Tonner||IRL 2016||Division 2||0.948|
|the big picture||half tonner||IRL5522||Division 2||0.946|
|ANDANTE||Yamaha 36c||IRL 375||Division 2||0.937|
|Black Velvet||Beneteayu First 34.7||IRL 3471||Division 2||0.983|
|Flash||Formula 28||2597||Division 3||No IRL cert|
|Smile||Corby 25||IRL 4518||Division 3||0.928|
|XEBEC||X 302||IRL 3022||Division 3||0.928|
|Impetuous||Corby 25||IRL 2507||Division 3||0.927|
|DUX||X302||IRL 988||Division 3||0.925|
|F'n Gr8||First Modified||FRA111||Division 3||0.921|
|Viking||X-302||IRL 1103||Division 3||0.92|
|Elandra||Sigma 33||IRL4536||Division 3||0.912|
|Rupert||Sigma 33 OOD||IRL4518||Division 3||0.912|
|Insider||Sigma 33||IRL4444||Division 3||0.906|
|Scandal||J24||IRL 4212||Division 3||No IRC cert|
|Janx Spirit||J24||IRL 3112||Division 3||No IRC cert|
|Pamafe||Beneteau first 285||Irl 2855||Division 3||No IRC cert|
|ANIMAL||Formula 28||IRL 6563||Division 3||0.906|
|Cri-Cri||Quarter Tonner||ITA 8709||Division 3||0.905|
|Lady Rowena||Sadler 34||IRL34218||Division 3||0.904|
|Starlet||Hunter Formula 28||IRL 6136||Division 3||0.901|
|Cartoon||Fauroux Quarter Tonner||IRL 9186||Division 3||0.899|
|Manzanita||Quarter Ton||IRL 48||Division 3||0.889|
|Running Wild||Impala 28||IRL 9538||Division 3||0.883|
|Kilcullen||J24||IRL 680||Division 3||0.882|
|GALA RACING||J24||IRL5278||Division 3||0.882|
|Jumpin' Jive||J24||IRL 3060||Division 3||0.882|
|Vamoose||First 211||IRL 1569||Division 4||No IRC cert|
|Don Giovanni||Cecarelli Mini Ton||ITA10767||Division 4||0.878|
|Dubious||First 28||1654||Division 4||0.873|
|Supernova||Starflash||Irl 7500||Division 4||0.866|
|Asterix||Hunter Sonata||8245N||Division 4||0.821|
|Digi||Wedge||8970||Division 5||No IRC cert|
|Sapphire||Oceania 323||Ir3230||Division 5||No IRC cert|
|edenpark||jeanneau sun odyssey 36||irl 1166||Division 5||No IRC cert|
|White Lotus||Elan 333||1333||Division 5||0.967|
|Voyager||Dehler 34||IRL 657||Division 5||0.931|
|Vespucci||Dehler 31||IRL1502||Division 5||0.889|
|Demelza||Club Shamrock||Irl 100||Division 5||0.889|
|Cevantes||contessa 32||irl 932||Division 5||0.85|
|Gung-Ho||SuperSeal 26 FK||IRL216||Division 5||0.848|
|Bonjourno||Dynamo 25||GBR9625R||Division 5||0.836|
Dun Laoghaire's Royal St George Yacht Club hosts this week's Frank Keane BMW ICRA National Championships. Ten races are scheduled with approximately one hundred boats entered. Afloat sticks its neck out to predict the top boats and winners in each division.
Last year's ICRAs in Galway Bay was fairly controversial with a lot of boats choosing not to attend and in the end, no racing whatsoever took place due to weather conditions and lock gate restrictions. So, a year later, It is good to see such a large entry for the Nationals on Dublin Bay.
ICRA is experimenting with some new class type options with similar type boats ensured of being in the same division. The final class splits in the 100-boat fleet are here.
Division 0 boats will sail coastal type courses instead of the Windward Leeward/Round the Cans that the other divisions will sail.
Weather conditions always play a part in trying to work out winners. This year, at the time of writing, the forecast is looking like light winds on the Friday and medium to strong winds for the Saturday and Sunday. Boats will need to be able to perform in all conditions therefore to win.
"Boats will need to be able to perform in all conditions to win"
Boats from IRC 1.040 up, plus some boats in lower divisions who opted for the Coastal type racing
Four or five good boats in this division. George Sisk's new XP44 Wow will like stretching her legs in these longer courses as will Cork Week 2018 winner, Frank Whelan's Grand Soleil 44 Eleuthera, with Prof O'Connell calling shots. The other boats in contention will be Paul O'Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI and Jay Colville’s First 40, Forty Licks, fresh from his success in the 2019 Scottish Series. Were the winds to be strong all weekend, you would have to go for Rockabill, but that light Friday might just be a challenge for her, so we will go for the ever consistent Forty Licks to take this one.
From IRC 1.010 to 1.039
This will be, along with division 2, a very hotly contested division. There are 22 entries; all quite similar in speed, though their ratings differ a bit. Included in these 22 are 13 J109s and as a J109 has won this division in the last four ICRA Nationals, then you must expect that one of these, at least, will shine.
The last three ICRA nationals were won by John Maybury's Joker 2, so he is going for four in a row, but will be without the services of four times Olympian, Mark Mansfield who was his tactician for the three previous wins. John will still be a force and is thought he may have another Olympian slotted in. Tim and Richard Goodbody just won the J109 East Coasts and will be up there as likely will be Paul Barrington's Jalapeno and Brian and John Hall's Something else.
However, among the J109’s will be the two Howth Yacht Club Boats Storm 2 of The Kelly Family, and the new J109 to the fleet, John Murphy and Richard Colwell's Outrajeous. Storm is a regular winner in the fleet. Outrajeous has just won her class in last weekend's Lambay Race by a margin, and with Mark Mansfield calling tactics will, without doubt, be in contention. Andrew Craig’s Chimaera, winner of the Scottish Series just a few weeks ago, will be competing but its RIYC skipper is abroad and Brian Mathews is in charge. Brian Jones's Jelly Baby has announced a last-minute hotshot crew here
Apart from J109s, Andrew Algeo's New J99 could be quite slippery in the breezy conditions and will pose a threat. Were the breeze to stay windy all three day's Denis Murphy’s Grand Soleil 40, Nieulargo would romp around the course, but a light Friday might prove her undoing. Stuart Cranston’s Ker 32 From Strangford Lough had a great at her first outing at the Scottish Series to finish second in class, and in mixed conditions may prove fast, if she can escape the clutches of those 13 J109s. Colin Byrne's XP33 Bon Exemple would be in contention, but rig damage means she may not be competing.
In the end, history will say it will be a J109 and the two Howth boats must be the favourites as a result, so Storm 2, White Mischief or Outrajeous to win.
IRC from 1.009 to .930 approx
Again a very strong division with six Half Tonners likely posing the biggest threats and among these Dave Cullen’s Checkmate XV must be the favourite, having won the Lambay race last weekend against all the others. Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII will be close though, as may the Wright's Mata from Howth, which had a very good outing at Scottish Series and likely would have won but for disqualification in one race. Ronan Downing’s Miss Whiplash Half Tonner from Royal Cork could be a dark horse, after winning his class at Cork Week in 2018.
Apart from the Half Tonners, the ones to watch, especially in the breeze are Ross McDonald’s X332, Rope Dock/Equinox, Stephen Quinn’s J97, Lambay Rules and Finbarr O'Regan's Elan 333 Artful Dodger from Kinsale. At the 2017 Sovereign's Cup Equinox and Artful Dodger, in strong winds were able to show the Half Tonners a clean pair of heels. From Royal Cork, Anthony O'Leary's modified 1720 is still something of an unknown quantity because her rating is not confirmed but is potent in the stronger winds downwind especially in the hands of O'Leary who proved this very point last month on Dublin Bay when he recorded 16-knots downwind in his clean sweep of the 1720 East Coast Championships.
However, in the conditions as forecasted, a light Friday may be these boats undoing, so we are going to go for the Half Tonner of Dave Cullen from Howth to take this one.
IRC from .930 to circa .880
Normally the Quarter Tonners would rule the roost here and among these Ken Lawless and Sybil Mc Cormack’s Cartoon would be the one to watch. However, with the two breezy days forecasted you have to look at some other contenders as well. The X302’s are a notable weapon in the breeze and among the four entered; The Gore-Grimes Dux from Howth must be the pick of these.
The highly modified Impala of Brendan Foley from the host club, with his fat head mainsail, will also be in contention.
In the breeze forecasted though, you cannot go further than Rory Fekkes highly modified Beneteau First class 8 F’n GR8 to take this class. Winner of Cork Week overall last year and winner of every race, bar one, at this year's Scottish Series, this boat excels in a breeze and is a hot favourite to take division 3.
IRC from .880 down
With only six entries in this division, it is hard to work out a winner. The Starflash of Philip O'Dwyer will be in the mix as will likely be the Sonata Asterix.
The Clyde Cruising Club’s Scottish Series has long been a happy hunting ground for Irish boats and crews writes W M Nixon. We remember with particular fondness the great days of the Royal Cork YC’s Corby 36 Antix, with which the O’Leary family seemed to be in constant motion from one victory to another in successive locations, and the early-season Scottish action in Loch Fyne was always in a key position on their agenda.
More recently we’ve seen Rob McConnell and his team from Dunmore East pull off the top trophy with his A35 Fool’s Gold, and then last year Pat Kelly and his mostly family crew, sailing for Howth and Rush, were Tops of the Top in Scotland with the J/109 Storm.
But this year has seen it all move onto a new plane for Ireland, with a high level of success which is both across the board, and in-depth for good measure. For although it provides racing from the characterful port of Tarbert for 11 classes, the prime selling point of the event is the Scottish IRC Championship, yet just four of those classes come within the prestigious IRC remit.
Yet when racing wrapped up on Monday, all four of those elite classes were won by boats from Ireland. Not only that, but in two of those classes, the runners-up were Irish, and in the case of the hottest IRC class of all, the RC35s (aka Class 2) sponsored by gourmet food specialist Makars Mash, Irish boats simply dominated the frame.
As already reported in Afloat.ie, the RC35 winner, and overall winner too, was Andrew Craig’s J/109 Chimaera (Royal Irish YC). The fact that they took it by a whopping eight points is why they got the big one as a bonus, and it’s another feather in the cap of the J/109 Class, of which Andrew Craig is Dublin Bay Captain.
Seasoned sailor Brian Mathews was in Chimaera’s crew-of-all-the-talents (including Maurice “The Prof”) for this contest, and he waxes lyrical about how the 2004-conceived J/109 continues to give excellent value, particularly for Dublin Bay sailors.
“She’s a very forgiving boat” he enthuses, “with an excellent all-round performance and no real vices. Unlike some rock star boats, she’s not utterly outstanding on any one particular point of sailing. Yet she’s right there all across the board, and will always turn in a good average speed when compared with boats of similar size. As for her virtues when she’s raced in a One-Design situation, they’re all accentuated – we’ll be getting value out of the J/109s on Dublin Bay for a long time, they’re the Dublin Bay 24s of our time”.
One of the earliest advocates of the J/109 in Dublin Bay was John Hall of the National Yacht Club, whose dark blue Something Else is one of the class’s most senior members. Her skipper has the zest for sport to match – John Hall is 82 this year, and for something like forty of those years he has been a strong supporter of the Scottish Series.
So when Something Else went north yet again in May 2019, it was with three generations of the Hall family on board – John, his son and co-owner Brian, and grandson Jack – together with a totally Corinthian crew, and on Monday evening they were acclaimed as fourth overall in this very hot RC35 Class, with a healthy scoreline of 4, 3, 2, 8, 5 and 3, and as popular regulars they got the Boat of the Day award too.
The winner Chimaera showed the sort of steady series consistency advocated by yacht racing coaches, with a score lineup of 2, 1, 4, 3, 2 and 2. But in second place the Ker 32 Hijacker – a sister-ship of Eamonn Crosbie’s Round Ireland winning Voodoo Chile – had a lineup of highs and lows which may have had something to do with her being at the lowest size limit of the RC35 class, yet despite her smaller size she had a punitive rating well above the J/109s.
Everything about Hijacker is interesting, as her owners Stuart Cranston and J Buchanan list Down Cruising Club as their home base. DCC is that wonderful former lightship club HQ hidden away in the heart of Strangford Lough - perfect for total cruising folk perhaps, but not generally associated with high end IRC racing.
To add to the mix, they had the formidable Mark Mansfield of Cork on board, and it started brilliantly with a win on the Friday morning, but then a 9th and a 7th in Friday’s two other races were a wake-up call.
So they went out and won in Saturday’s only race, and got a third and first in Sunday’s two races. But as racing simply petered out in calm on Monday in that Loch Fyne style we all love so well, Hijacker had to be content with a scoreline of 1,9,7,1,3,1 which looked spectacular, but simply couldn’t match Chimaera’s Steady Eddy showing.
That said, very few boats came away from Tarbert with three good race wins, and that for the smallest boat in the class. As it was, it was good enough to keep them ahead of defending champion Pat Kelly in Storm by 2 points, the final RC35 scorecard being 1st: Chimaera (Andrew Craig RIYC) 14 points, 2nd: Hijacker (S. Cranston & J Buchanan DCC) 22pts; 3rd Storm (P Kelly, HYC/RSC) 24pts; 4th Something Else (J & B Hall, NYC) 25pts.
The 2018 RC35 champion, Debbie Aitken’s First 36.7 Animal from the Clyde, may already have won the Kip Regatta RC35 contest earlier in May ahead of Storm, but in Tarbert the Animal had to be content with 7th overall. Up at the front of the class meanwhile, with a clear lead margin of eight points, Chimaera’s crew knew they were heading back into Tarbert for the final time in 2019 on Monday with every likelihood of being the Top of the Tops, so they’d Luke Kelly blasting out “Take Her Up to Monto” on the cockpit speakers at the upper limit of the dial as they came into port, and the trophies collected, they then zapped back over the 154 miles from Tarbert home to Dublin in businesslike style.
Inevitably we focus on the RC35 Class at the Scottish Series, as it’s a good idea whose time has definitely come, with a clearly-visioned Class Association that maximises sporting return for time afloat. The J/109s do the same in Dublin Bay, and with eight classic Half Tonners now in action in Ireland, they’re also working the same way. But as the hyper-successful Irish GP 14 Class Association shows year after year, it doesn’t happen by magic – you’ll only get as much out of it as you put into it in the first place.
Thus there were just two Irish Half Tonners in Scotland, both from Howth in the form of Jonny Swann’s Harmony (runner-up to Dave Cullen’s Half Ton Classic World Champion Checkmate XV in Belgium last year) and Darren & Michael Wright’s new mount Mata (formerly Trastada).
Admittedly they did get first and second overall in Class 3 with Harmony on a scoreline of 1,4,2,1,1,2 to put her 6 points ahead of Mata on 2,1, Dsq, 3,2,1, but a few more of these attractive boats would have livened it up no end. However, there’s an expectation of eight Half Tonners in the three day Frank Keane BMW & Mini ICRA Nats at the Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire starting next Friday, so for the moment we’ll leave it that although only two Half Tonners went to Scotland, they simply couldn’t have done better…..
An extra cherry on top of the cream-covered Irish IRC success cake in Scotland came among the biggies in Class 1, where Jay Colville’s First 40 Forty Licks from East Down YC in Strangford Lough pulled of quite a coup by winning overall from the home favourite, Jonathan Anderson’s J122E El Gran Senor. There were just two points in it at the end, but the win was well earned by an owner-skipper who is not only one of the keenest in Ireland – there are very few major regattas where Forty Licks hasn’t been in the thick of it towards the front of the fleet – and her skipper gives as he takes, as he serves as Deputy Chair of Sport NI.
Way down the size scale, Class 4 in Scotland was the smallest boats using IRC, and once again the winning trophy came back southwest across the North Channel, this time aboard Rory Fekkes’ impressively all-black super-tuned vintage Beneteau Quarter Tonner F’n Gr8 from Carrickfergus SC. They’d a bit of a sneeze in the first race to take third, but after that it was straight bullets all the way.
Yet all the Irish IRC successes were definitely not a flash in the pan, but were solidly based on proven performance to give 2019’s Irish IRC season a rocket-propelled start. Which is just as well, as the fulfilling of the programme for the next six weeks is going to require some people being in at least three places at the same time, and doing it all at the speed of light in order to emerge intact at the end of Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta on July 14th.
It’s Cresta Run logistics, and in order to accommodate it, in the ISORA scene they’re taking a programme break to allow their boats time to do both the Frank Keane BMW & Mini ICRA Nats next weekend, and the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race on Wednesday, June 12th. But here too the first set of ISORA results just add to the J/109 mystique, as the Pwllheli flyer Mojito (Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox) currently leads the points table, and now their hat is in the ring for the dash to Dingle as well.
So although we’re into a new set of parameters with the upcoming ICRA Nats and the D2D, at the heart of both fleets the J/109s will still be the boats to beat.
Frank Keane BMW & Mini will be the title sponsor for the cruiser championships that is on course to field a fleet of 100 boats drawn from all four provinces.
Event Chairman Ian Simington and ICRA Commodore, Richard Colwell commented “we are honoured to partner with such a prestigious sponsor and brands. Frank Keane has supported sailing for many years and it is fitting that such huge brands team up with this major event. Whilst the focus is on racing, shoreside there will be much to entertain all participants, friends and family and the Royal St George Yacht Club has a highly inviting social programme lined up for all.
Frank Keane said "We feel very proud to be sponsoring the 2019 ICRA National Championships. It strengthens a well-established association between Frank Keane BMW and the Royal St. George Yacht Club since the opening of our Blackrock branch in 2010".
As Afloat previously reported Irish boats are expected to perform well in this weekend's Scottish Series on Loch Fyne. Now armed with a decidedly mixed weather forecast, Afloat takes another a closer look at the runners and riders and predicts some winners
Class 0 - El Gran Señor to Nick it?
Spirit of Jacana from Northern Ireland took a good win last year from Courier Recommende with Royal Cork yacht Jump Juice Third. This year Courier or Jump are not there so Spirit of Jacana will have to battle against Aurora and El Gran Señor from Last year plus Forty Licks from County Down. Forty Licks will be consistent as will El Gran Señor. If the breeze is up, Spirit of Jacana will romp around the course and be very likely to win, but you can expect John Anderson on El Gran Señor to nick it if conditions are otherwise. He has shown some great pace in his J122e last year at Cork Week and he knows the Lough well. Numbers are down from 9 to 6 in this class, this year.
RC 35 Class - Animal is the One to Watch
Likely the strongest fleet again this year. Pat Kelly's Storm took the Class and overall Scottish Series trophy last year for winning this class, but it went right down to the last race with Something else from DL, who pushed them very hard.
Something else is back, from Dun Laoghaire, along with Andrew Craig's Chimera (with pro-Maurice O'Connell from North Sails aboard), both J109s. Expect it not to be an all J109 affair though. Animal, the Beneteau 36.7 took the Honours a fortnight ago in the Kip Regatta from Storm and she is a potent performer, especially in light winds.
There are a number of other competitive entries in this 14 boat fleet, all very much around the same rating, including Stuart Cranston's Ker 32 Highjacker from Strangford Lough, with pro-Mark Mansfield from UK Sailmakers, calling tactics. This boat previously competed for Ireland in the 2006 Commodores Cup, under the name Checkmate, She is a sistership on the Ker 32 Voodoo Chile. She will favour the stronger conditions but is also expected to hang on in the lighter breeze. This will be a tightly contested fleet, with any one of the above boats likely taking the spoils, but Animal is likely the one to watch with her 2019 win at Kip regatta already under her belt.
IRC Class 3 - 'F'n Gr8', Mata or Harmony?
14 entries also in this one with likely 4 or 5 potential winners. Last year's Cork Week overall winner, Rory Fekkes highly modified First Class 8 From Carrickfergus, F'n Gr8, will be in the running, along with a similar sized Quarter Tonner, Phoenix, and if conditions are light, these two will be potent. However, in mixed conditions, the two half tonners, Mata from D and M Wright from Howth Yacht Club and Jonny Swan's Harmony will likely be the ones to beat. Mata is newly acquired by the Wrights and the core crew comes from top ex under–25 sailors from Howth. Expect them to give Harmony a good run for their money. Both the HYC Half tonners will sail with pros from North Sails Ireland, more here.
Racing starts tomorrow (Friday) and runs through to Monday.