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ICRA has announced further initiatives and support for under 25 development programmes throughout the country. These initiatives include further funding for Under 25 team entries to events, this time at the J24 Nationals plus the launch of development grants and advice for clubs looking to set up their own Under 25 cruiser racing teams from scratch.

Read the J24 Nationals preview here

ICRA has previously recognised that support is needed for juniors to transition from dinghies to keelboats. Already this year we have provided free entry to seven Under 25 teams at the Frank Keane National Championships in Dun Laoghaire, won by the Under 25 team from Foynes Yacht Club. ICRA has also provided support for Under 25 teams participating at the Irish Sailing Pathfinder Women at the Helm and are now announcing their continued support for the Under 25 teams competing at the J/24 National Championships.

In 2018, ICRA in association with Irish Sailing and the J/24 Association announced the first Under 25 J/24 National Champion which was won by Scandal from Howth Yacht Club. This year ICRA will subsidise free entry for seven Under 25 teams who will compete for that national title from clubs across the country including Howth Yacht Club, Foynes Yacht Club, Sligo Yacht Club, Royal Cork Yacht Club, Mullaghmore Sailing Club, Fastnet Marine Outdoor Education Centre and Tralee Bay Sailing Club.

The J/24 National Championships will take place at Lough Erne Yacht Club from the 23rd to 25th August. There are thirty-one confirmed entries for this very exciting one design cruiser racing fleet. ICRA’s funding will be made available to clubs for their Under 25 teams participation at the championship. ICRA is also announcing an additional prize of a special grant for Under 25 training and development for the club with the overall winner of the Under 25 J24 national title.

To continue its role in supporting pathways to entry for cruiser racing, ICRA is also announcing further development grants and advice for clubs that have yet to start their own Under 25 cruiser racing development programme. Any clubs interested should contact ICRA directly.

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With just over two weeks until the Welsh IRC Championships on Cardigan Bay, Irish IRC boats are preparing for the trip across the Irish Sea to the Llŷn Peninsula and to Plas Heli - the Welsh National Sailing Academy on August 9th.

Royal Irish Yacht Club's Patrick Burke will compete in the First Class 35 Prima Luce in IRC as will Dave Cullen's Half Tonner Checkmate XV from Howth Yacht Club.

This year's Irish entries continue a fine reciprocal tradition of competing in Wales where Irish boats have recorded considerable success over the past five years.

The Championships also doubles as the Welsh leg of the RC35 class's Celtic Cup where Howth boat Storm won the inaugural trophy last year. And in 2017, Waterford raiders 'Fools Gold' won the IRC Welsh Championships.

Prima Luce first 35 0578Patrick Burke's First Class 35 Prima Luce from the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

Berthing will also be available for Irish boats competing in the ISORA race from Dun Laoghaire to Pwllheli on July 27th and who wish to leave their boat in Pwllheli ready for the IRC Champs.

Jac Y Do 4759 2Mark and Jo Thompson's Jac Y Do from Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club Photo: Afloat

Pwllheli will also welcome competitors from right across the Irish Sea catchment area including Scotland. 

Triple Elf 3932Christine and Robin Murray's Triple Elf Photo: Afloat

Christine and Robin Murray's Triple Elf from Fairlie Yacht Club and last year's Class 2 Overall Winner Checkmate (Ian MacMillan) are also entered. This Checkmate team have just become UK Impala National Champions. Also entered is Robin Young's J109 Jings from the Scottish RC35 class.

Jings 3944Robin Young's Jings from Clyde Cruising Club Photo: Afloat

The bulk of these boats last competed together at Dun Laoghaire Regatta earlier this month.

IRC 1, 2 and sports-boats (IRC3) will race from a committee boat start in Tremadog Bay (Race Officer Mike Butterfield). The cruiser class (IRC4) will start and finish from the PSC club line adjacent to Gimlet Rock (Race Officer Robin Evans)

See entry list here

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For the overall ICRA Boat of the Year, solid regatta season wins at Sovereigns and the Dun Laoghaire Regatta for Checkmate XVIII has lifted them into contention with season-long front runners, Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins). Victory in Howth’s Autumn League could see Nigel Biggs and crew of Howth Yacht Club and the Royal Irish Yacht Club take the trophy, but with clubmate Rockabill VI also sitting pretty at the top of Class 0 in the year-long Dublin Bay Sailing Club series it will likely be too little too late.

Rockabill 2191Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) from the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

With a return to inshore racing, Frank Whelan's Grand Soleil Eleuthera from Greystones Sailing Club also did the regatta double in Class 0, lifting them clear of Forty Licks (Jay Colville of East Down) but behind the champions-elect. In Class One, honours look to belong to Joker II (John Maybury) whose championship nerve held strong in the face of a new challenge from Outrajeous (John Murphy and Richard Colwell) at the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.

Eleuthera 0580Frank Whelan's Eleuthera from Greystones Sailing Club Photo: Afloat

Joker II J109 1661Joker II (John Maybury) from the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

Outrajeous 5525Outrajeous (John Murphy and Richard Colwell) from Howth Yacht Club

A National Championship and Irish Half Ton Cup in their first season will be a substantial achievement but a slide in form for Mata (Wright Brothers of Howth) in Dun Laoghaire, where they finished outside the top three has left them too far behind to overhaul Checkmate XVIII in Class 2. Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes) moved up a division for the Dun Laoghaire Regatta taking on the challenge of racing the Half Tonners. Her series began well but she eventually finished off the podium. An unchallenged runaway victory for F'n Gr8 (Mark Fekkes of East Antrim) at the same event has left them in a strong position as top boat in Class 3. Dux may yet have the last laugh if it blows during the HYC Autumn League, and it usually does.

Dux 5573Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes) from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

Mark Fekkes First 8 1838F'n Gr8 (Mark Fekkes of East Antrim) Photo: Afloat

Demelza is still sitting pretty amongst the non-spinnaker competitors, her early-season success more than making up for not making the start line at VDLR.

With six scoring events now completed, we are halfway through the scoring series and events switch West and South to bring non-Dublin boats into the scores.

There’s still a long way to go but the up to date scores are downloadable below.

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ICRA has announced it will support the further promotion of the Under 25 sailing keelboat teams, by paying the entry fee for any Under 25 Keelboat Team entering the Irish Sailing “Pathfinder Women at the Helm” event on the 17th/18th August.

ICRA has added the Pathfinder Women at the Helm event subsidy to a range of other actions the Committee has taken to promote and encourage participation in cruiser racing among under 25 age groups. Richard Colwell, ICRA Commodore commented, “Encouraging “Yacht Racing for All” is a core part of our mission and we are especially proud of the drive to encourage cruiser racing with those coming out of dinghies to help clubs provide a pathway to keep these sailors in the sport.”

ICRA has already this year, subsidised the entry costs to the event for eight-under 25 teams to take part in the ICRA nationals, which was a great success with teams travelled from Wicklow, Tralee, Foynes, Howth and the Dun Laoghaire clubs. As well as subsidising entry fees for the Under 25 teams, ICRA also provides access to funding for training initiatives and can provide support and advice to clubs looking to set up Under 25 teams.

As Afloat previously reported, the Pathfinder Women at the Helm event has been organised on the 17th/18th August, hosted by the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, in order to give all sailing women their own annual sailing goal and to set and encourage a move from shore to boat, crew to helm or club event to regional event. The event is open to PY Dinghy Racing and Keelboat Racing from Teens to Seniors. ICRA encourages all members to enter the event and have some fun, with the only proviso being that a woman needs to helm and 50% of the crew need to be women.

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The end of June meant the Irish Cruiser Racing Nationals (ICRA) Boat of the Year standings has begun to take shape.

As Irish Times Sailing Correspondent David O'Brien reported last Friday, as a result of class victory at the Irish Cruiser Racing Nationals on Dublin Bay last month plus a successful defence of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, also in June, Paul O'Higgins's Rockabill VI was the runaway leader of ICRA's reformatted Boat of the Year award at the halfway stage of the competition.

A national title and Irish Half Ton Cup victory have placed Mata (Wright Brothers) at number two on the rankings, whilst a national title and second place at the Sovereign's Cup is enough for white sails’ ace, Demelza to slide in at No. 3.

Sovereigns Cup Class two9Mata Photo: Bob Bateman

A busy month for the J109 Outrajeous has placed them in fourth, narrowly ahead of national inshore champions Dux, Joker II, and Supernova, and D2D division winners Indian and Red Alert.

outrajeous j109Outrajeous Photo: Bob Bateman

Sovereigns Cup white sails5Demelza Photo: Bob Bateman

Dux X302 3337Dux Photo: Afloat

Indian J109Indian Photo: Afloat

Red alert D2D Race start 2985Red Alert Photo: Afloat

Download the current standings below

There’s a lot of racing still to go. July and early August, featuring the Dun Laoghaire Regatta, WIORA Championships and Round Aran race in the west together with the second counting ISORA offshore, before the autumn will bring results to count from the DBSC season, HYC Autumn League and RCYC October League. While Rockabill VI currently sits on top of DBSC Class 0 and will be a favourite for the ISORA race to Pwllheli if she enters, Demelza and Mata have the HYC Autumn League to go. All three are entered for the Dun Laoghaire Regatta and will be amongst the favourites for their divisions.

ICRA updated its Boat of the Year scheme this year to better reflect the national cruiser-racer picture. Now, instead of an annual committee decision, the points from a series of 12 regattas will be combined to identify the top performing boat on IRC across the season balanced between the east, south, west and offshore scenes.

The ICRA Boat of the Year is now awarded on a points basis with the top three places in an IRC division at National Championships. National regattas and regional events all count towards the rankings for the year. At the halfway point, no less than 58 boats have made their mark.

Download the current standings below 

Published in ICRA

In some of the more compact cruiser-racers, the owner-skipper’s preferred role is as crew boss, and this is the approach of HYC Honorary Sailing Secretary Caroline Gore-Grimes on her family’s well-tested X 302 DUX. It’s an arrangement which worked a treat at the Frank Keane ICRA Nats from June 7th to 9th at the Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire. IRC Division 3 mustered a fleet of 23 boats, with Rory Fekkes’ souped-up Beneteau F’n Gr8 from Carrickfergus fresh from success in the Scottish Series. It looked like more of the same, with F’n Gr8 winning the first two races. But DUX had logged a couple of useful thirds, and then in the next two days her scoreline was 1,1,1,1,2 to give her IRC 3 by a very clear margin, and make her ICRA Overall Champion as well.

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The 2019 ICRA National Championships at Dun Laoghaire may have attracted a total of 93 boats from 24 clubs around Ireland but the spoils were shared between just two Dublin Clubs as five national titles went to Dun Laoghaire's Royal Irish Yacht Club (three) and Howth Yacht Club (two).

After a testing series with a full range of conditions, Anthony Gore-Grimes' Dux from Howth Yacht Club emerged overall winner of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championships sponsored by Frank Keane BMW on Dublin Bay today (Sunday 9th June 2019). The X302 boat won the Division Three national title, one of five decided over the three days thanks to a scoreline of top three places in its 22-strong division.

Howth Yacht Club Star Point Vessel 2503The Howth Yacht Club Star Point Committee Vessel was used for ICRA Class Zero, One and Two fleets Photo: Afloat

Sunday's final day was sailed in breeze ranging from zero to 20 knots with sunshine, hailstones and lightning included in the event hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

“The conditions were challenging for the race officers but, fair play they got all the races away," said Paul Colton, owner of Cri Cri from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Division Three. “It was a great event, the [fixture] timing worked out well.”

Cri Cri 3414Paul Colton's Cri Cri competing in Class Three Photo: Afloat
John Maybury's Joker II from the Royal Irish Yacht Club comfortably won his fourth consecutive Division One national championship title after scoring all first or second places over the seven race series. His title win was one of three for his Dun Laoghaire club while Howth Yacht Club took two other championships.

Paul O'Higgins' Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish Yacht Club emerged victorious in Division Zero for the biggest boats that sailed three coastal courses for the series. His win only came on the tie-break as Jay Colville's Forty Licks from East Down Yacht Club slipped back to second overall in their ten boats fleet.

A steady work rate over the seven races saw Michael and Darren Wrights' Mata from Howth Yacht Club emerge as Division Two National Champions with a race win in the final to seal their grip on their 19-boat fleet. The result saw Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII from the Royal Irish Yacht Club take second with Howth's David Cullen on Checkmate XV staging a comeback to take third.

“We had very testing conditions but the racing was fantastic, very close,” said Ronan Downing, owner of Miss Whiplash from the Royal Cork Yacht Club in Division Two. “We were beaten into fourth overall by just one second in each of the last two races.”

Miss Whiplash 2301Ronan Downing's Miss Whiplash from Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Afloat

Back to back wins on the final day, mirroring Friday's racing saw Philip O'Dwyer's Supernova from the Royal Irish Yacht Club take the Division Four national championship title in a four-boat contest. Amongst the white sails Division Five competing for the ICRA Corinthian Cup, Windsor Lauden and Steffi Ennis on Demelza delivered straight bullets for the series in spite of starting 15 seconds late for the final race.

"We had a large number of Under 25's taking part and it was great to see that the Red C Perpetual Trophy was won by an all-woman crew," commented Richard Colwell, Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association. "Each champion in this year's event is a worthy winner and has had to work very hard to win amongst extremely competitive fleets."

U25 J80 2852An Under-25 J/80 crew from the host club Photo: Afloat

"It was particularly pleasing to see how our new ECHO handicap formula delivered a totally different set of results than IRC. Those crews who may have considered this event unattainable in the past can now take part with a chance to see an improvement and progression on their championship chances."

"We set out to hold a first-class national championship, and I think most competitors would agree that the racing was at the highest standards while being enjoyable both on and off the water," added Colwell.

Full results are available here

Read all Afloat's stories from the 2019 ICRA National Championships in one handy link here.

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Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper Paul O'Higgins reclaimed the overall lead of the Class Zero (Coastal) division of the ICRA championships on Dublin Bay today to take the title away from the overnight leader Northern Ireland's Jay Colville in the First 40, Forty Licks.

O'Higgins who is the defending champion in Wednesday's biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race (race preview here) was declared the ICRA champion after the tie break rule was applied as Rockabill and Forty Licks both finished on the same six points.

Third overall in the nine-boat fleet was the Greystones Sailing Club Grand Soleil 40, Eleuthera on 12 points in the three-race series. 

Provisional overall results after day three and subject to protest are here

Read all the latest from the ICRA National Championships in one handy link here.

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Howth Yacht Club X302 campaigner Dux has won the Divison Three title of the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay.

The Anthony Gore-Grimes skippered entry took the lead in the biggest class of the Royal St. George YC Championships after an impressive three wins on Saturday to outwit Rory Fekkes in the Carrickfergus Modified Beneteau First 8.

Dux beat the Fekkes boat by three points overall with third place overall going to the host club's Brendan Foley in the modified Impala Running Wild. 

Provisional overall results subject to protest are hereRead all the latest from the ICRA National Championships in one handy link here.

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The Wright Brothers from Howth completed a consistent series of seven races with six top three results to become Division Two National Champions in their first ICRA outing with their new Half Tonner in Dun Laoghaire.

Half Tonners took the top five places overall in the Royal St. George's championships fleet of 19 boats. 

Overnight leader Nigel Biggs from the Royal Irish Yacht Club lost out in the final two races today in Checkmate XVIII to finish second overall 2.5 points behind Mata. Third overall is Classics Half Ton World champion David Cullen in Checkmate XV.

Half Tonners 3537Close racing for the Half Tonners in 22-boat Division Two Photo: Afloat.ie

Provisional overall results subject to protest are hereRead all the latest from the ICRA National Championships in one handy link here.

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