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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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Following the cancellation of Cork Week 300, ICRA has decided to combine the National Championships with this year’s WAVE regatta which will take place at Howth Yacht Club from September 11-13th.

The decision was taken by unanimous vote by all the cruiser-racer representative Board Members at a strongly attended ICRA (remote) meeting this week, with the full support and backing of the RCYC Cork Week team.

The decision took into account a number of factors, including the desire to ensure that the event took place if at all possible and was not cancelled again, the costs and implications of running a standalone event at this stage and the understanding of ensuring boats and crews had some possible opportunity to get up to speed before the event.

The meeting chaired by Commodore Richard Colwell included Cxema Pico, RIYC; David Cullen, HYC; John Leech, LDYC; Ric Morris, RIYC; Johanna Murphy, GISC & SCORA; Peter Ryan, NYC; Denis Byrne, RCYC; Liam Lynch, TBSC. Brian Raftery of SBSC was absent.

The ICRA Committee also say they wish 'to thank generous offers from other clubs to host the regatta on alternate dates'.

Richard colwellICRA Commodore Richard Colwell

Commodore Richard Colwell commented “The ICRA Committee is saddened that the efforts of Cork Week cannot come to fruition so we have considered several alternative options for our annual ICRA National Championships. It was agreed that it would be prudent in the current environment, to delay the important National Championship regatta until as late as possible to try and ensure it goes ahead this year, so we have taken up the offer from Howth Yacht Club to combine the event with the WAVE regatta in September.”

"it would be prudent in the current environment, to delay the important National Championship regatta until as late as possible"

WAVE Chairman, Brian Turvey added “Our team in Howth is delighted to be able to lend support to ICRA for their 2020 Championships. Wave Regatta provides a relatively simple integration for the ICRA Nationals with much of the fleet already intending to compete and at a time of the year which suits many classes for their annual championships, not least that we are hopeful that the pandemic will have abated by then.”

Due to the uncertainty of which events will proceed, it has also been decided to cancel the original Boat of the Year schedule of races and keep under review.

Once we get clarity on what events will be proceeding, we will reissue a revised Notice of Race, ICRA spokesman Dave Cullen said.

Published in Wave Regatta
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Irish boats do not now have to choose between the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) national championships or IRC European championships thanks to an integration announced at last weekend’s ICRA conference. Details of this are contained in David O'Brien's Sailing report in today's Irish Times newspaper here.

The news has been welcomed by ICRA for a couple of reasons because Several Class 0 and 1 boats who are already equipped to Category 3 were keen not to be excluded from IRC Europeans given there were no upgrading costs for them.

The Irish Times quotes ICRA champion skipper John Maybury who happily endorses the move. "I had intended to do the ICRA nationals only, but this is now a fantastic opportunity to do the IRC Europeans as well", he says.

According to ICRA spokesman Dave Cullen, ICRA was happier to give participants the option of a shorter regatta as the five-day format is a break from the traditional three-day format. It was recognised that almost all boats would be in Cork for the entire week but the break during the week with regard to points harks back to the old Cork Weeks where Wednesday was a lay day. This new format gives participants the option to enjoy the party festival of Cork Week more and enjoy more casually, the Harbour Race on Wednesday which can be regarded as a more fun event and perhaps a cure for some sore heads. The reality that the Harbour Race can at times rely on luck ensures that the prestigious ICRA title comes from the more traditional windward-leeward and round the can format races.

Cullen says ICRA has said it is 'hugely committed' to growing participation of the ECHO fleet with the new format ECHO proving very attractive to participants. This new format should go further to improving the attractiveness of this year’s ICRA Championship for ECHO boats too.

The cruiser-racer body also says that when its national championships are part of another event, there is normally compromise but ICRA feels that 'the solution reached is highly beneficial for all ICRA Sailors and Cork Week participants alike'.

Published in RORC
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The Irish Cruiser Racing (ICRA) National Championships return to Dublin Bay in 2021 it was confirmed at the weekend.

The National Yacht Club at Dun Laoghaire will host the three-day championships from May 28 to 30th, just a week before the East Pier Club also stages its biennial offshore 2021 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race.

The announcement was made by ICRA Commodore Richard Colwell at last weekend's annual conference that attracted a turnout of 50 despite the storm warnings

A fleet of up to 100 boats in four divisions is expected for the championships that last sailed in Dublin Bay in 2019 when hosted by the Royal St. George Yacht Club.

This year the championships are heading for Royal Cork Yacht Club as part of the line up for the Cork Harbour Club's 300th celebrations at Cork Week Regatta.

Meanwhile, Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race Chairman Adam Winkelmann has set the date for the next edition of the D2D as Wednesday 9th, June 2021.

Published in ICRA
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While Storm Jorge put a dent in the number of attendees at ICRA's annual conference including Evelyn Cusack being able to attend, a vibrant gathering of over 50 sailors attended the Royal Irish Yacht Club.

Following an introduction by Commodore Richard Colwell, several presentations were made including those from UK Sailmakers Ireland's Barry Hayes and Maurice O’Connell of North Sails. Further presentations were made by WAVE Regatta, Cork Week 300 and Round Ireland 2020.

Richard ColwellCommodore Richard Colwell opened the ICRA conference

David Cullen hosted a forum that concentrated on policing the ICRA Rule and this provoked an interesting discussion that concluded inspections of boats should become more regular at regattas.

Brian Raftery had a great update on the progress of the Under 25 initiative that has caught the imagination of the youth from several Clubs with campaigns already emerging. Tadg O’Lionsigh of Tralee Bay guided the attendees through his own campaign from rebuilding a battered J24 to hitting the water at speed.

RCYC Admiral Colin Morehead accompanied by Kieran O’Connell and Roscoe Deasy outlined the big changes being made for Cork Week. The decision to allow boats rating greater than 0.980 to participate in both ICRA and the IRC Europeans was welcomed by all, meaning the new formula ICRA event means boats will be scored for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday whilst Wednesday will be a totally standalone Harbour Race spectacular.

ECHO liam lynchTralee Bay’s Liam Lynch provided an update on ICRA’s new Progressive Echo handicap system

The outstanding presentation of the day came from ICRA Committee member and Tralee Bay Sailing Club Commodore Liam Lynch. Liam personally reformulated the ECHO system in 2019 and recapped on the success of this new formula that had been adopted for the major 2019 regattas. He demonstrated that the new formula used produced significantly different results from the previous ECHO formula. It is intended that the new system is adopted for all major Irish regattas in 2020 and this will ensure that all yachts will have a real chance of podium results at whatever they attend.

ECHO Formula example

ECHO formula

Commodore Richard Colwell commended Liam for his hard work and enthused over the fact that yachts that had previously been excluded from getting prizes now had a real chance of winning if they sailed well. The attendees hugely welcomed this new initiative which will bring more cruiser racers to regattas and increase participation and enjoyment by all.

Colwell also announced that the 2021 ICRAs will be held in the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay while Dave Cullen outlined the events that would contribute points towards the 2020 Boat of the Year award, details of which can be found at www.cruiserracing.ie.

The day wound up with the presentation of the Boat of the Year Trophy to Paul O’Higgins and crew on Rockabill VI.

Published in ICRA
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You’d like the absolute one hundred per cent top-level insider information on what gives with the approaching Storm Jorge? Well, unless things conspire to such total destructiveness that she has to be at her command post 24/7 as Jorge sweeps in close past Ireland tomorrow, Evelyn Cusack - the face of Met Eireann - is the lead speaker at the Annual Conference of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association in the Royal Irish Yacht Club tomorrow.

It gets underway at the civilised but prompt time of 1100hrs as the attendance – already upwards of 80 have registered, and it’s expected to easily top the hundred mark on the day – is coming from all over lreland. They'll hear Commodore Richard Colwell and his team review a successful year, and go through the programme for 2020. However, the country’s favourite Weather Woman is scheduled to be the opening speaker at 11 am in a comprehensive programme covering an extensive range of additional informative topics, including Sailmaker/Trainers and the progress with the Under 25 Teams, which is one of the jewels in the crown of ICRA achievement.

There’ll be further details revealed of ICRA-related events, and a Forum will be included to allow members to gives their views and float ideas on how the Association can be progressed, while the formula for choosing the Boat of the Year 2020 will be outlined and analysed.

In all, it will be an intense highly-focused gathering, and for those needing sustenance for a spot of in-conference grazing, the good news is that coffee, tea and scones will be available in the club from 10.30 am, while more substantial lunch arrangements can be made with the RIYC Catering Office.

MGM Sunfast 3300The MGM Sunfast 3300 has arrived in Dun Laoghaire

As for a spot of associated interest, while the intriguing Sun Fast 3300 newly delivered to Ireland is still being commissioned at the MGM yard just along the waterfront, you might manage to contrive a quick look-see. And if you’re interested in an alternative boat which may be the pioneering Olympic Offshore Racer selected for the 2024 Games, Andrew Algeo’s new J/99 will be in the immediate neighbourhood.

Published in ICRA
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Amongst my most pleasant memories of sailing are racing my Sigma 33 in whitesail across Cork Harbour with a crew of four all under the age of 15. I had ‘managerial supervision’ to ensure no untoward happenings for Scribbler, but there wasn’t any need for concern. The four Topper dinghy sailors revelled in handling Scribbler and she responded, showing her stern to several boats crewed by older, more mature sailors. The young lads helmed, trimmed main and jib and finished in the top three across the line.

My belief is that encouraging young sailors into keelboats is essential for the future of sailing, because so many are lost to the sport in that gap between dinghy and cruiser sailing. The young sailors who crewed Scribbler then and have since, some from time-to-time, others permanently on the crew, are still all dinghy sailing. Other owners in the Royal Cork have also encouraged younger sailors to crew on their boats. The club’s Under 25 Academy has developed positively and there are plans to widen the participant age group.

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s development of its Under 25 programme, funded by itself and the national sailing organisation, Irish Sailing, is a much-needed and positive national step in closing what has been sailing’s ‘losing gap’.

So this week on my podcast I’m talking to Brian Raftery who has put a lot of work into devising this programme.

The “sailing population” is ageing, of that there is no doubt. So this project, which is intended to solve one of the biggest problems for the sport, is of vital importance.

Brian tells me how the project is developing, the response to it from clubs around the country and how he hopes it will evolve.

Listen to the podcast below

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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Building on the new ICRA / Irish Sailing U25 Support Programme, we are now pleased to announce the launch of our 25/25 scheme writes Dave Cullen of ICRA

To support the existing and newly formed U25 squads around the country, we are asking all Event Organising Authorities and Clubs around the country to offer a 25% discount on your entry fees to all U25 squads entering your events.

Supporting events will have the above logo on their race documents to quickly make competitors aware they are supporting U25 sailors and offering this 25% discount on entry fees.

The following events have already committed to offering this discount;

  • Cork300 Cork Week – Royal Cork Yacht Club
  • Wave Regatta – Howth Yacht Club
  • WIORA Championships – Tralee Bay Sailing Club
  • J24 Northerns – Carrickfergus Boat Club
  • J24 Westerns – Sligo Yacht Club
  • J24 Southerns – Foynes Yacht Club
  • J24 Nationals – Howth Yacht Club

ICRA and Irish Sailing greatly appreciate all the above clubs and events for leading the way on this initiative.

We are working on adding more exciting 25/25 discounts very soon.

Any event or business interested in supporting the 25/25 scheme by offering the discount and carrying our logo, simply email [email protected]

Published in ICRA
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Evelyn Cusack (Head of Forecasting, Met Eireann) heads up an exciting and interesting line up of speakers at the 2020 Irish Cruiser Racer National Conference (ICRA) National Conference this month writes ICRA Commodore, Richard Colwell.

This year the conference will be held on Saturday 29th Feb at the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dublin. It will start at 11 am and has great content all day.

The 2020 Annual Conference will feature:

  • Evelyn Cusack (Head of Forecasting, Met Eireann) - we are delighted to have Evelyn Cusack kick-off the conference covering the topic of “Weather Forecasting”, a critical element of all sailing activities and competitions.
  • Sailmakers/Trainers – we will have training presentations on tactics and trimming tips learnt throughout the year from training session across many cruiser fleets.
  • Under 25 Team – bringing us the detail of how they went about putting together an under 25 team to challenge and win at the J24 National championships
  • Major Event Reps – giving you the low down on what to expect at the major cruiser racing coastal and offshore sailing events of the year
  • Sailors Forum – giving members a chance to have their views and input heard on relevant topics and discussions for the cruiser racing community.
  • ICRA Updates – on the Boat of the Year event for 2020, ECHO handicaps, and the Under 25 Programme.

The full agenda can be found here.

The conference will start in the morning at 11.00 am and will be followed by the AGM and the Boat of the Year Award presentation.

Notice of AGM

All members invited to attend the ICRA AGM which will take place in the Royal Irish Yacht Club in the afternoon of the Saturday, February 29th. Updates of the activities undertaken during the period will be presented by members of the committee and will be followed by the vote for a new Executive Committee.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
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Some small changes have been made to the ICRA general rules following a successful first season under its new revamped committee and constitution.

Overall the objective of the General Rules remains the same; to help race organisers keep their documentation simple while helping competitors by keeping the detail consistent from event to event. Much of the rules remain the same with changes representing an evolution based on learning's from the 2019 season.

The statement of the fundamental principles of seamanship has been updated to bring it fully into line with the requirements of the main IRC events.

The 'confusing' use of the term ‘ICRA classes’ has been changed to ‘standard groupings’. A mechanism for reassigning boats between divisions and carrying over scores has been added.

Minimum requirements for safety equipment have been added. Again these standardize the requirements already in place at national IRC events.

Using the number of boats in a division to decide overall prizes can be seen as somewhat arbitrary. A means of calculating an Overall Score using the previous years Boat of the Year scores to assess the competitiveness of each division is provided.

Read more here

Published in ICRA
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Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Yacht Race Information

The biennial Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race is a 320-miles race down to the east coast of Ireland, across the south coast and into Dingle harbour in County Kerry.

The race is organised by the National Yacht Club.

It never fails to offer a full range of weather, wind and tide to the intrepid entrants, ranging from a 32ft cruiser to a 79ft all-out racer.

Three divisions are available to enter: cruiser (boats equipped with furlers), racing (the bulk of the fleet) and also two-handed.

D2D Course change overruled

In 2019, the organisers considered changing the course to allow boats to select routes close to shore by removing the requirement to go outside Islands and Lighthouses en route, but following input from regular participants, the National Yacht Club decided to stick with the tried and tested course route in order to be fair to large and smaller boats and to keep race records intact.

RORC Points Calendar

The 2019 race was the first edition to form part of the Royal Ocean Racing Club “RORC” calendar for the season. This is in addition to the race continuing as part of the ISORA programme. 

D2D Course record time

Mick Cotter’s 78ft Whisper established the 1 day and 48 minutes course record for the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race in 2009 and that time stood until 2019 when Cotter returned to beat his own record but only just, the Dun Laoghaire helmsman crossing the line in Kerry to shave just 20 seconds off his 2009 time.

Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race 2021

The 2021 Race will start from the National Yacht Club on Wednesday 9th, June 2021.

This will be a limited entry event.

Previous entrants will be offered early entry options and then the entry will be opened to others to allow up to a maximum of 50 yachts.

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