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There will be more boats on the water in the season ahead, crewed by young sailors supported by the Irish Cruiser Racing Association's Under 25 programme which has been so successful that ICRA is now working with the national sailing organisation on developing a further stage of the project, to encourage those finishing it to buy their own boats and increase the size of cruiser fleets at clubs around the country.

"We are now seeing the positive result of what started many years ago at Howth Yacht Club in focusing on the Under 25s, which was then taken up by ICRA, by clubs around the country. It is really encouraging," Commodore Richard Colwell told me in advance of the annual general meeting of ICRA on Saturday, March 6.

Despite the unpredictability of the challenges sailing faces due to the continuing Covid 19 pandemic, he is hopeful that the season ahead will be a good one.

ICRA Commodore, Richard ColwellICRA Commodore, Richard Colwell - ICRA is encouraging young crews to buy their own boats and increase the size of cruiser fleets at clubs around the country

"There may still be difficulties early in the season, but later in the Summer I am hopeful that there will be more opportunities and our national championships are well placed in September," he says on this week's podcast, where we follow up on the theme highlighted in last week's edition. This was where Daragh Connolly, the new Commodore of SCORA, the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, described the growing interest of young sailors in cruiser racing and going offshore.

Anthony O'Leary's Antix Beag, from Royal Cork, a customised 1720 sailing Photo: Bob BatemanAnthony O'Leary's Antix Beag, from Royal Cork, a customised 1720 sailing Photo: Bob Bateman

I started the Podcast by asking Richard Colwell how hopeful he is for the season ahead:

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, RTÉ and Met Éireann's Evelyn Cusack will head the line-up of speakers and presentations at the ICRA AGM which the Commodore will start at 10.30 am with an update. The conference will be on Zoom, due to pandemic restrictions and registration for it is open.

This will be followed at 10.40 am by Evelyn Cusack's half-hour presentation on forecasting the weather. And at 11.10 am, international yacht designer Mark Mills will give a brief talk on his line of work.

After a short break, there will be briefings on the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race by Adam Winkelmann, Sovereigns Cup by Anthony O’Neil, Dun Laoghaire Regatta by Con Murphy, ICRA Nationals by Ric Morris and ISORA from Peter Ryan.

Published in SCORA

ICRA will hold its annual conference and AGM online on Saturday 6th March from 10:30 to 13:00 due to COVID restrictions.

The implications of the pandemic on the 2021 cruiser-racer season will be discussed, according to association spokesman, Dave Cullen. 

ICRA has already moved its 2021 National Championships out from May to September and this May's Scottish Series has been totally revamped as a purely on the water event in a bid to stage Scotland's biggest sailing event after 2020's cancellation.

Weather forecasting and sailing

Having ironically been unable to attend last year’s event as Headline Speaker due to the weather, RTE and Met Eireann’s Evelyn Cusack will join ICRA this year covering the topic of “weather forecasting and sailing”.

Evelyn Cusack will speak at March's online ICRA conferenceEvelyn Cusack will speak at March's online ICRA conference

While the event will naturally be shorter due to being online, the conference will have a number of experts offering advice on all aspects of racing and yacht preparation and will be followed by the AGM.

The full ICRA agenda and registration details will be issued shortly and published on Afloat.

Published in ICRA
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The ICRA/ISA Under 25 Keelboat Support Programme is open for 2021 applications.

The scheme was created as a support programme to help sailing clubs develop their own Under 25 squads and ICRA reported an overwhelming response to the initiative when launched in December 2019.

Seven clubs, from across the country, now have established U25 squads, with another two clubs actively looking for the right platform to start their own programmes. 

The idea behind the programme stems from the belief that while there are a significant number of young sailors that become Irish Sailing instructors and partake in University Team Racing, ICRA says a lot simply drop out of the club racing scene in their 20s. An Under 25 keelboat development programme can offer a place for some of these sailors. Keeping them active in the sport and fostering their commitment as members of their clubs.

In the second of three years of funding for the scheme, successful applicant clubs will be provided with an initial Capital Grant which will assist clubs to buy a keelboat for their U25 squad. The scheme will then continue to provide an annual allowance to assist the club run their U25 programme until it is well established.

ICRA is now inviting Irish Sailing Category 1 clubs to send “Expression of Interest” to apply to join the programme.

Full details about the programme are here

Published in Youth Sailing

With the loss of the key cruiser-racer events in 2020 Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Commodore Richard Colwell says the association is unable to award its annual Boat of the Year prize.

As well as its own ICRA National Championships, June's Round Ireland Race, July's Cork Week, September's Wave Regatta and WIORA in Tralee were among some of the big casualties in the Irish sailing scene due to COVID. 

ICRA is expected to a new schedule of events for its Boat of the Year Award early in 2021 even though the body has already made a pre-emptive move and rescheduled its 2021 National Championships from May to September as Afloat reported here.

"Hopefully, 2021 will shape up to be a normal season, albeit a "new normal", Colwell says.

Published in ICRA
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After cancelling its 2020 championships twice, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) has now seen fit to move the dates of its 2021 National Championships from May to September next year because of the continuing threat of COVID-19.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Commodore Richard Colwell, said "It is now evident that the continued impact of Covid-19 will be felt well into 2021. With that in mind, ICRA was conscious of a need to provide as much time as possible to try and ensure that a National Championship does take place in 2021".

As such, ICRA says it has worked with Dun Laoghaire Harbour's National Yacht Club, the 2021 hosts of the event, to rearrange the National Championship dates from its original date in late May, to an alternative date in early September 2021.

The change also removes an unfortunate clash with the Scottish Series that occurred with the former date, as Afloat reported here.

The new dates for next year's ICRA National Championships are September 3rd - 5th 2021.

In 2020, it was originally planned to race the ICRA Nationals as part of Cork Week and RCYC's 300th celebrations and when that July date was cancelled, ICRA opted to race as part of Septembers' rescheduled Wave Regatta which in turn was axed at Howth also due to COVID leaving the championships not sailed for the first time in its 18-year-history.

Published in ICRA
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ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell on the cancellation of the 2020 Championships planned as part of Wave Regatta 2020

It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Howth YC and Fingal County Council have taken the unenviable decision to cancel Wave Regatta 2020 due to the concerns over COVID 19 precautions. ICRA has been involved in these discussions which have explored all possibilities to keep the event alive in some format and we fully support their decision. It means that, at this stage of the season, the ICRA National Championships will not now proceed in 2020.

In discussions with HYC and the main sponsor Fingal County Council, it is clear that due to the current increase in cases and the fact that we have been held at phase 3 for the foreseeable future, the event could not go ahead safely so we fully endorse this decision made on public health grounds. It recently clear that with the numbers involved we simply can’t justify running the event and maintaining social distancing required under the current restrictions.

This is obviously not the news that any of us on the ICRA committee, as avid cruiser racers wanted to hear, as we would all love to get back to what we love and hosting National cruiser racing events.

Having said that, our first and foremost concern has to be the health and safety of all involved in any event.

ICRA will continue to do all we can to support and encourage club cruiser racing for the rest of the year, as well as continuing to support the development of the Under 25 programme and ratings platform development.

We will now work hard on plans for next year's event - at which stage hopefully we will all have learnt how to deal with the virus better and be in a position to back fully to cruiser racing and again run national events.

Published in ICRA
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The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) has today announced that it will provide funding to encourage cruiser racing participation, in the form of discounts to help cover the costs of reducing ECHO and IRC certs from the 1st August.

Conscious that yacht owners are only now starting to get back on the water, for what will be truncated season, ICRA has worked with Irish Sailing and RORC, to provide funding for discounted certs, in order to do what it can to encourage boats to take out certs and take part in racing events.

ICRA says it receives all of its funding through Irish Sailing, from a ring-fenced proportion of cruiser cert fees, after RORC and administration costs are removed.

So far this year ICRA has also allocated and funded close to €10,000 supporting the continued development of under 25 team participation in clubs across the country.

This has come in the form of capital grants, trickle grants for teams already set up, and coaching. They also provide regional support grants, in order to help support cruiser racing across Ireland, which is paid to WIORA and SCORA. The funds also help ICRA to manage and deliver a successful National Championships each year and provide support and development of ratings systems and results.

The once-off COVID 19 cert discounts will allow for yachts to avail of an ECHO cert from the 1st August ongoing to the end of 2020, for less than half the current price, at just €20 per cert.

ICRA has also arranged to provide a 20% discount off any IRC cert purchased between the 1st of August and the 1st September. While they have also confirmed with RORC, that from the 1st of September boats will be able to avail of half-price IRC certs.

However, owners should bear in mind that the turnaround time for standard IRC certs from Irish Sailing is 2-3 weeks, and while every effort will be made to turnaround certs as quickly as possible, this may well be too tight to have your cert 5 days before Wave/ICRA Nationals starts unless an expedited service is paid for.

ICRA hope these discounts, funded as a once-off for 2020 as a response to COVID 19, will help to encourage boats to take out certs and enter open events being staged from now until the end of the season.

In particular, ICRA is keen to encourage boats to have certs in order to be in with a chance to compete for the number of ICRA National Championship titles up for grabs in Corinthian/White Sail, ECHO and IRC classes, at the Wave Regatta from the 11th-13th Sep – with great racing planned for all levels and experience. A very strong entry for the ICRA National Championship 2020 / Wave Regatta is already in, and we would encourage all boat owners to enter what promises to be the highlight of the shortened season.

Richard Colwell, ICRA Commodore, “We don’t have huge budgets at ICRA, as I am sure most are aware, and these are provided by those taking out their certs each year.

However, at our recent committee meeting their was unanimous support to try and do what we can to encourage as many boats to go racing as possible. Driving participation in our sport at all levels remains our core mission.”

ICRA understand that many boats have already applied and paid for certs, and we would like to thank these cruiser-racer owners for continuing to be active participants and supporters of the wider the sport. We had to make a call to apply this discount from a point in time, and unfortunately, discounts can’t be backdated, but we hope this small funding gesture helps to encourage as many yachts as possible to take part in racing for the remainder of 2020.

Published in ICRA
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While sailing might have been late starting, there is plenty more planned in 2020 writes ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell

After a long winter and a shut down due to COVID 19, that at one point threatened the whole sailing season, the ICRA Committee is delighted to see cruiser racing start again in clubs across the country.

Of course, it’s important that this is done within the guidelines set out by Irish Sailing and Sport Ireland so that as sailors, we remain safe and limit the possibility that our sport is impacted by or contributes to any resurgence of Covid19. To this end, we encourage the cruiser racing fraternity to familiarise themselves with the current COVID 19 regulations, follow the advice from clubs and Irish Sailing, and do our part in keeping the sport safe. Irish Sailing has produced extensive guidelines for running events which we should be helpful to anyone organising an event. Details are here

Yacht racing leagues have returned to Cork Harbour Photo: Bob BatemanYacht racing leagues have returned to Cork Harbour Photo: Bob Bateman 

It is great in this context to see life return to clubs across the country, with many yachts being launched in recent weeks and many more being readied. We are delighted to also see that a large number of yachts have already taken out their ECHO and IRC certificates in readiness for events that are being planned nationwide.

As you know, we were disappointed to have to cancel the ICRA National Championships originally planned to be held in tandem with Cork Week 300. However, our decision to ensure the event would take place by partnering with Howth Yacht Club’s Wave Regatta, rescheduled to 11th -13th September, means crews have time to get their boats up to speed in local racing before the National Championships take place. Details and online entry here

We already have a very strong entry for the ICRA National Championship 2020 / Wave Regatta and we would encourage all boat owners to enter what promises to be the highlight of the shortened season. We will have a number of National Championship titles up for grabs in Corinthian/White Sail, ECHO and IRC classes – with great racing planned for all levels and experience also in collaboration with ISORA.

ISORA and DBSC racing got underway this month on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatISORA and DBSC racing got underway this month on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

An extensive offshore sailing re-boot programme has been organised by ISORA with Peter Ryan, ICRA Committee member instrumental in its set up. A strong fleet has already taken part in its first two races with plenty more opportunities for boats to enjoy offshore racing and ensure they have suitable qualifications for the Round Ireland Race planned for later in August. Details of both are found here at www.isora.org and www.roundireland.ie

Despite the COVID 19 Lockdown, the ICRA K25 support programme has successfully started this year with a number of brand new under 25 teams set up in Sligo Yacht Club, Mullaghmore Sailing Club and Malahide Sailing Club, all with the support of ICRA grants. Many teams already in place have applied for and have received funding for continuing to run their teams and there will be plenty of opportunities for more teams to apply and take part next year.

Dublin Bay Sailing Club has also extended its season into October whilst the various regional Autumn Leagues now look to be bigger events than before.

Whilst we might have been late starting, there is plenty more sailing planned for the remainder of what looks like a longer season.

Published in ICRA

“You will notice that the premium has increased on last year. This is not something that is particular to just your policy. All clients have seen their premiums increase this year.”

The warning letter from my insurance brokers was blunt and clear.

The first paragraph of their letter was followed by: “The reason for the increase is that the last few years, 2017 in particular, have seen some very significant disruption in the marine insurance market with successive years of severe losses coupled with premium income failing to meet the rising cost of claims. This resulted in some underwriters withdrawing from the marine sector altogether. With a hardening and contracting market industry, bulletins point to predictable increases in premiums, while the highest risk (perceived or otherwise) cases may find it difficult to arrange cover or will be faced with restricted terms and higher excesses. There have been a couple of claims–free cases where Insurers have declined to offer renewal terms at all.”

Racing boat owners are facing hikes for insurance, some of which could be substantial, added to which there are restrictions appearing in policies which could affect activities such as inter-club racing.

For example, one company – Amlin – would only insure for racing in leagues or regattas organised by one’s own club. In Cork Harbour that would prevent me racing Scribbler, my Sigma 33, in some of the combined league races, because the harbour clubs alternate running them. It would also block participation in the Cobh-Blackrock Race to other than Cove S.C. members, the organising club. Another company, Beazley, wanted the boat ashore after the end of September, which would exclude the Autumn League at the RCYC, the biggest of the season. I was told by my broker that in Ireland there were those who would not insure a Sigma. I was told: “For whatever reason, the underwriters have decided they do not want to insure them, they do not provide any further explanation.”

I checked with a few clubs about insurance changes. Some owners had experienced similar attempts to insert limiting conditions previously, such as no inter-club racing. had resisted them individually and that the changes had not been proceeded with.

Well, those conditions are back again it seems and, so far, there’s no indication that companies which want to get more money from boat owners are prepared to change their minds.

Limiting racing to one’s own club would affect boats taking part in inter-club regattas and other events and what about Championships?

I was told that “rather than bundling all racing into one category there is a move by insurance companies to differentiate between those that race in club races only as those boats are deemed to be “less competitive.”

To change the conditions and get coverage for inter-club racing and cover to the end of October involves substantial premium increases for my boat. To include inter-club racing Amlin wanted €193 more than a premium for one’s own club racing only.
Beazley’s hike for October cover was €58 onto the original quote. Both companies inserted petty massive increases in the excess on a policy.

For club committees, one club Secretary told me, it will make the Notice of Race even more important. Sailing Instructions require that competitors need to have insurance but, does everyone read the small print of their insurance agreement to make sure that they are covered for racing outside of their own clubs and is this something clubs will have to be aware of.

It seems the warning for “buyer beware” is very appropriate for racing yacht insurance this year.

This week’s Podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Last week's high-powered ICRA executive meeting took the decision to cancel its original Boat of the Year schedule faced with material changes to the sailing season over COVID-19.

'Once we get clarity on what events will be proceeding, we will reissue a revised Notice of Race', ICRA Committee member Dave Cullen told Afloat. 

The original aim was to ensure all boats have an equal chance at winning the trophy it would be based on each boats best four results across events specified in the NOR.

As regular Afloat readers will know, the original NOR schedule published in December 2019 started with the then ICRA Nationals being hosted by Cork Week in 2020. West Cork's Calves Week was added to the BOTY schedule in order to balance WAVE Regatta on the east coast. At approximately 180 miles, the return of the Dún Laoghaire to Cóbh race, feeding into Cork Week, was also recognised by ICRA as a national event for the purposes of its boat of the year award but now, sadly, that plan has all had to be scrapped.

The cruiser-racer body revamped its boat of the year award in 2019 to be formula-based rather than a traditional committee decision. 

Last week's ICRA executive also voted to move this year's national championships to race as part of WAVE Regatta this September after the cancellation of Cork Week 2020.

Published in ICRA
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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

© Afloat 2020

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