Displaying items by tag: ICRA
Mark Mansfield, Racing Consultant for UK Sailmakers Ireland, previously wrote about tuning a fractionally rigged mast. In this latest article, in association with ICRA, the four time Olympian describes how to set up the mast and sails for best performance upwind in different wind conditions
The first article dealt with getting your mast in a basic good position, centralised sideways, the correct basic rake, the correct shroud tension and finally the correct prebend. This should always be done in medium wind conditions in what we would call the 'base position', normally 11 to 15 knots. It is assumed that once this initial base wind tuning has been done, the sails, when set, fit the mast prebend properly.
By this, I mean when going upwind in say, 12 or 13 knots the mainsail looks to be in a good aerofoil shape (see photo below), with a little bit of backstay tightened. No overbending would be evident (wrinkles running from the mainsail clew to the middle of the mast). Likewise the mainsail in these conditions should not look too full.
It is important to get the mainsail right in these conditions as sometimes the main might just be cut too flat or be just too full and may need a small alteration to the luffround by your sailmaker. When you pull on a lot of backstay in these 12/13 knots conditions, if you still do not get overbend wrinkles, as stated above, the chances are that the main has too much luffround and needs a bit taken out.
On the other hand, if, in 12/13 knots of wind, you get overbend wrinkles immediately you put on a small amount of backstay, it is likely the mainsail is too flat in the luff and will need some luffround added by your sailmaker. These are not very difficult adjustments for a sailmaker and can really make a difference. It is possible to adjust the rigging a bit to help rectify these problems, but really it can often lead then to further issues. So, say your main is looking a bit deep and you ease the lower shrouds to allow the mast to bend forward more, then the mast, in addition to bending further fore and aft also bends sideways to leeward. This, then in slightly stronger winds closes the slot between the main and jib and can be slow.
It is very rare that a mainsail will look fantastic in light, medium and strong wind conditions. As a general rule you design a main, for Irish conditions, to be best in moderate winds and you then either live with it in the other conditions or you adjust the rig to try and get the rig to fit the sail in those light and heavy conditions.
BASE WIND ADJUSTMENTS
All right, let's say the Main does now fit the Mast (either it was right or has been altered by your sailmaker). In these base (11 to 15 knots) winds you are going upwind nicely, with all your crew on the rail and hiking (hopefully hiking hard—really important). What should be evident is your headstay should be moderately tight, maybe a little bit of fall off, your mainsheet should be fairly tight with the top leech telltail streaming most of the time. Your backstay will be tightened a bit and as the wind ranges from say 11 to the 15 knot base range, you will be adjusting your backstay (tighter in the stronger range and less in the lower range). As you tighten backstay, the mainsheet needs to be pulled on more and because this pulls the mast back, it will open the jib leech, so normally the jib needs to be sheeted in more or maybe the jib lead moved forward. As the breeze increases, a telltail sign that you need to tighten backstay is if the helm gets heavy.
Conversely, if the breeze eases and the helm feels a bit dead, then easing the backstay will give you power. But remember, this then will likely require the mainsheet to be eased and the jib sheet eased. I will discuss the importance of the helm feel later.
One adjustment I have not mentioned yet is the main traveller. Up until weather helm becomes excessive, the traveller can be kept in the middle or even to weather. In lighter airs, you can keep the traveller well to weather, and even the boom can be above centerline. My rule of thumb in light air is to have the mainsail clew, (about a foot or two up the leech), in the centre. This may mean the boom is a bit above the centreline but most of the sail is not and that will give you more power and feel on the helm which is very important in light winds. In the higher end of this base (11-15knots) wind range, you may need to leave the traveller down below the centerline to ease weather helm. Try backstay on first though which will tighten the forestay and flatten the sail plan. If this still results in too much helm, then drop the traveller, but only 400 mm or so to leeward of centre. Dropping it too much just closes the slot between the main and jib and leads to a lot of mainsail backwinding which is slow. The reality is if you are overpowered to the level of dropping the traveller further, you really should be on a smaller or flatter Jib. Likely though, in these 11- 15 knot winds you will not be that overpowered.
Below this wind range (less than 10 knots) you are looking for power in order to get all the crew fully on the rail and hiking. Above the base wind range (over 15 knots), you are depowering the boat upwind by flattening and twisting the sails.
The helm is the most important indicator of whether the boat is set up correctly or not. It will talk to you, if you listen. Most of my sailing career has been as a helm, Admiral's Cups in the 80’s, one designs in the 90’s (Olympics in Stars, 1720’s, Melges 24's, Mumm 30’s), Commodores Cup etc in the last 10 or 15 years. The weight on the helm is extremely important. As a general rule, 5 or 6 degrees of weather helm is what you are looking for. A bit of weather helm, though it adds drag, is good. The rudder, when it is angled 5 or 6 degrees will give the boat lift. It is not just the keel that gives lift, so does the rudder. If you have neutral helm, chances are you are not pointing that well, and if you have too much helm, chances are you are going slow. If you are wheel steered, put a mark on both sides of central to show what 6 degrees of helm represents. If a tiller, work out also what 6 degrees relates to.
The best mainsheet trimmers, you will find, were also helms. You will see them constantly looking at the helm while they are trimming the main to try and keep the helm in the correct position. If they were helms you will find that they understand what your problems are very early on and will try and address them quickly. It is also very important for a helm to communicate with the mainsheet trimmer what he/she is feeling from the helm.
Another indicator of whether the boat is set up correctly or not, in addition to the helm, is how the forestay looks. In lighter airs, you want the forestay to have some sag, as this will build power, which will add lift also. As the breeze increases, to say 10 knots or so, tightening the mainsheet will automatically tighten the forestay a little. While all this is happening the backstay will just stay snug. Don’t have the backstay flopping around as this will result in the forestay pumping forwards and backwards in the waves. Until the helm starts to get heavy, it is still good to have some forestay sag. If the forestay tension was set correct initially you will find that as the wind increases from light to medium, the amount of sag in the forestay should decrease just nicely as you initially take on extra mainsheet and then eventually start to take on backstay. As the breeze gets to 14 or 15 knots or so, you generally want the forestay pretty straight as you are now starting to depower a bit. If you are depowering, then a straight forestay means you can point higher.
RIG CHANGES OUTSIDE BASE
All of the above discussion is based on not changing the Standing Rigging (forestay and shrouds) in different wind conditions. For most racing boat owners they will be just happy to get a good base setting and will lock off the shrouds and forestays with rigging pins. In this situation they will be happy with maybe being a little underpowered in the lighter airs and will live with being a bit overpowered in the stronger winds.
However there are good gains to be made in adjusting the rig regularly. Perhaps only 25% or so of boats in Ireland that race at a good level will adjust their rigging for different wind conditions, but you will likely find that most of these will end up towards the top of the fleet.
I normally will have five rig settings:
- 0-7 kts—very light--all crew normally down to leeward—soften and ease rig a lot
- 8-11 kts-transitioning—few crew to weather early and then all – softer than base
- 12-15 kts – Base – (see above)
- 15-20 kts—Depowering a bit. Tighter than Base
- 20 kts and above—Full on powered up, very tight rig
In my next article, I will go through the options to getting to these lighter and heavier rig tensions and what each change of the rig will bring. I will show a chart we have done for a well known one design, the J109, showing what to do in each of these conditions and most importantly will explain, once the shrouds and forestay are adjusted, how to set the sails to maxamise these Rig changes. This chart, though aimed at the J109, will be similar for most cruiser racers.
I will also offer an intermediate option to adjusting all your shrouds and forestay that will be nearly as efficient and will be more easily reproduced. The problem with changing all your shrouds and forestay in each condition is that in very many cases you lose track of what setting you are on. Also, as happens a lot, often someone tightens a bottlescrew when they think the are loosening it which leads to S bends appearing in the mast. Fair Sailing – Mark Mansfield
In addition to being a self employed sailing Consultant for UK Sailmakers Ireland, Mark Mansfield is a Professional Sailor. He has been competing for 35–years on the International stage including four Olympics in the Star Class, four Admirals Cups in the 80’s, Commodores Cups in the last ten years and numerous other One Design and big boat campaigns. He has a specialisation in rig tuning and has tuned many of the top racing yachts in Ireland. He also is a noted tactician and was tactician on boats which have won their class in the last 3 ICRA nationals, the last three Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regattas (incl overall boat in 2017), IRC Europeans winner, Cowes Week winner, Spi Ouest winner, Cork Week, Scottish Series, UK IRC winner etc. He is a two times Irish Sailor of the Year and a two times Irish Helmsmans Champion. He is available to sail with, coach, tune rigs or advise on rating improvements for any boat, whether they use UK sails or not. Contact Mark at [email protected] or mobile: 087 2506838
Other articles in the UK Sailmakers Ireland/ICRA 'How to...' Series:
An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association has been called for Wednesday, March 21.
It will be held in the Maldron Hotel in Portlaoise at 7.30 p.m. and a new Executive Committee will be voted into position.
The meeting follows the controversy which has arisen within the Association. A new “interim constitution” is also be voted on by members at the meeting.
Nominations are open for any member to go forward for election to the Executive.
A list of the candidates is to be made available on the ICRA website three days before the Portlaoise meeting.
Current Commodore Simon McGibney has written to members of ICRA expressing the hope that the meeting will be a “productive session that enables ICRA to take relevant steps towards renewing its commitment to cruiser racing in Ireland.”
ICRA Statement on Feb 13 2018:
The ICRA Executive held an emergency meeting on Friday 9th February, in light of the discussions that were held in Limerick (20th January) on our long term plan. In order to ensure that ICRA continues to receive the strong support of members, it was agreed to review the constitution, reinforce good governance, transparency and accountability.
1- Notice of EGM
It was agreed that an EGM would be held as quickly as possible, with all members invited to attend. In order to do this before the sailing season begins in earnest, and due to the cluttered rugby and sailing calendar during March, the date of the meeting was agreed as Wednesday the 21st March 2018 in the Maldron Hotel, Portlaoise at 7.30pm. Members will be as defined in the interim constitution. At the EGM the new interim constitution would be voted on by members. The interim constitution will be available on the ICRA website within two weeks.
2- New ICRA Executive
In line with the new interim constitution a new executive will be voted in by members at the EGM. Any member who wishes to stand as a member of the executive is encouraged to put forward their candidacy by completing the form on the ICRA website and submitting it no later than 1 week before the meeting (Wednesday 14 March 2018 at 7.30pm.). Any member putting their candidacy forward needs to be proposed and seconded by members. The completed form signed by proposer and seconder, plus a copy of their 2017-2018 IRC or ECHO cert need to be brought to the EGM. The current committee will endeavour to make list of candidates that have put themselves forward made available on the website 3 days before the event.
I look forward to sharing a productive session that enables ICRA to take relevant steps towards renewing its commitment to Cruiser Racing in Ireland.
The International Rating Certificate (IRC) has made a flying start to 2018 with increased numbers of rating applications in the first month of the year and nearly 1000 certificates issued in January. RORC says 'This is very positive for IRC as certificates are not automatically renewed. Owners must apply for a new certificate through their local IRC Rule Authority and advise any changes to the boat’s configuration before the certificate is issued by the RORC Rating Office or UNCL Centre de Calcul, joint owners and administrators of IRC'.
In Ireland, Irish Sailing says they have have had 50 IRC revalidation applications plus four trial cert applications so far this season. According to Chief Executive Harry Hermon, this is trending 'exactly the same as last year'.
2017 saw total Irish certs of 419 (includes all applications – revalidation, new, trial, amendment etc) so the view is that this will be the same in 2018, with a 'possible small increase'.
March/April/May/June are the peak months for IRC applications in Ireland.
Changes to the IRC rating calculations are implemented every January to cater for technical innovations in yacht design, a practice implemented by the IRC Technical Committee to foster close racing and protect the main fleet while remaining progressive.
Over the last 12 months the Technical Committee has been studying the effects of foils and how they are rated. Boats such as Infiniti 46 Maverick using the Dynamic Stability System will see a change in her rating from which she will benefit for the upcoming RORC Caribbean 600. Other developments for Spinlock IRC 2018 include changes to the calculations affecting: the rating of spinnaker area, sports boats, and boats that set headsails from bowsprits and do not carry spinnakers.
The ‘dayboat’ classification has also been removed from the Rule, leaving assessment of boats’ Offshore Special Regulations compliance to event organisers.
“These are difficult times for the Association. While robust debate is welcome and encouraged, respect for all must remain in all of our dealings with each other,” the Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, Simon McGibney, has said, in the midst of what has been described by other members as “a deep division” developing.
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association website has published the Notice of Race for the ICRA National Championships to be held in Galway Bay from August 16 to 18 and urges owners to REGISTER NOW. The notice includes the WIORA, West of Ireland Racing Association, West Coast Championships from August 15th to 17th.There is a strong list of sponsors, headed by Galway Port and both events will be run, the Notice says, in conjunction with Galway Bay Sailing Club. There is an offer of a reduced “early bird entry fee” and the Latest News Updates on the site declare that the Championships ARE A GO! And that “top-notch preparations are well underway…”
Perhaps, understandably, there is no word on the website about the dissension within the ranks of ICRA about the choice of Galway, nor that the disagreement has developed into wrangling between different members of the ICRA Executive and some outrage over comments made by one officer that the dispute within ICRA’s ranks was “a naked attempt to browbeat and intimidate officers in an effort to take over the Association by a small group…”
The Commodore of ICRA Simon McGibney called for an emergency meeting and indicated there would be a statement following that.
What appears to have happened, I have been told, is that “an attitude of aggression developed within ICRA” and that a number of members felt it was losing its way, there was concern expressed from some quarters that there was too much “fragmentation”, others that the Association had changed too much from a “fun organisation.. with a welcome into every club” into a bureaucratic, complicated structure.
While the source of disagreement appeared to arise from the choice of Galway for this year’s National Championships and an ICRA survey which showed a lack of support, sources have told me that there is more to the disagreement than just that….
Former Commodore, Norbert Reilly, whose resignation and comments that the Association may have reached its sell-by date, raised a lot of concern, had written to Executive members last June suggesting that everyone on the Executive would retire and hand-over to a new Committee. That didn’t receive much of a response and he resigned.
In the past few days I’ve been told that moves have been made to break the stand-off.
When ICRA was originally started I remember being told it would focus on national representation for boat owners, organising a national cruiser championship and getting an Irish team to win the Commodore’s Cup. All that has been achieved, so ICRA has been a success in that regard. But differences of opinion can emerge in a time of change. It is regrettable that this has led to some bitterness express in recent exchanges.
ICRA has been working on a five-year plan, but there is a view that a shorter-term approach is also needed.
At a time when it has been claimed, as in the annual report of the South Coast Offshore Racing Association, that interest in racing is increasing, the sport needs unity, not dissension at national organisational level.
• Listen to the Podcast below
After 16 years of progressive existence it needs to negotiate choppy waters.
The present Commodore, Simon McGibney, says that the Association is at the stage where it needs an “in-depth” look at its future.
Former Commodore Norbert Reilly, who has resigned from ICRA, said it has been “getting in the way of its own plan for the past two years” and that it is probably a good time to wind up ICRA…
Differences over genuinely held views do occur in organisations, with the best of intentions on both sides, but when the greatest loss can be for the future of the organisation, all racing sailors should be concerned.
The disagreement originally appeared to centre on the choice of Galway for the ICRA Nationals this year, but the underlying problems in ICRA are deeper than that and it is regrettable that Galway Bay Sailing should be the focus.
ICRA’S own unpublished survey reported warning signals about the Championships, with value for money down to 5.83 per cent. The Red C survey also said that “none of the sailors from Classes 0, 1, 2 or non-Spinnaker A said they would go to Galway. There was support in Class 3 and 4 and Corinthian B. August was identified as an issue for crews and the distance for boats to travel. “Galway is a lovely place but with the best will in the world I can't see myself making the trip. It's OK for boats that can be trailed but otherwise a stage too far….” summarised the opinion…
ICRA has been a strong source of development for committed racers and good for the sport, but there are others who would like to see ICRA spread itself wider and to encompass the ‘club sailor’ and to stimulate racing at this level. A revival of cruiser interest has been reported in some areas and stimulating the ‘club racers,’ encouraging young sailors to advance from dinghies into these cruisers could provide a system to supply crews, helms and owners to the more heavily-oriented racing boats in the future. The age profile of cruiser racing sailors has advanced so new ideas should be welcome.
The resignation of Norbert Reilly, who gave a lot of time to ICRA, is regrettable. Perhaps there can be a positive development. The postponement of the scheduled ICRA annual meeting until the Autumn and the production of a long-term plan could be a positive move, but it would be good for sailing to have wide involvement, including those who have disagreed with the Association, in the preparation of that plan.
• Listen to the Podcast below
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) has postponed next month's annual conference until the Autumn. It follows 'strong representations' about its timing aired at this month's symposium in Limerick. The goal now, according to the ICRA executive, is to have 'a fully thought out set of proposals' prepared for the Autumn.
Positive outcomes from the work shop aim to map a five–year–plan but at the same time resignation of a board member over a 'controversial decision' to stage the national championships in Galway has meant choppy waters for the voluntary body.
ICRA has been in existence now for 16 years and has organised 16 national championships and annual conferences in that time.
In addition, ICRA has been developing a training and development role for cruiser racing in recent years. ICRA is recognised by Irish Sailing [IS, formerly ISA] as the national body to perform these tasks.
According to Commodore Simon McGibney, 'ICRA is now at the point where it feels the need to take an 'in depth look at its role' in the future'.
Outcomes documented at January's strategic workshop include the first steps 'to enable the production of an ICRA Strategic Plan'.
A draft document released from the workshop last Friday says: 'The focus will be will to ensure that there is a shared understanding of the environment in which ICRA operates, the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation, the relationship with key stakeholders, shared Vision and Mission before moving into strategic goals and strategies.’The working document also sets some strategic goals:
- Continue to Hold a First Class Nationals
- Continue to improve high standards
- Improve social aspects of events
- Create a National Training Programme for Cruiser Racing Sailors
- Increase Participation in Cruiser Racing
- Improve Communication
- Improve ICRA Governance
The IRC Yearbook arrived in the post as I prepared to write this week’s Podcast. It is sent out together with your notice to renew your Handicap for the season ahead. Only, ‘oops’, the word ‘Handicap’ is no longer acceptable.
Peter Wykeham-Martin, Chairman of the IRC Congress, writes an editorial in the yearbook where he asks all IRC Certificate holders, or as it has been called for many years, a ‘Handicap’ to “please don’t use the word ‘handicap’ when talking about IRC.”
“Handicaps,” he says, “are what you bet on in horse racing and include a jockey’s form.”
“Rating,” Peter declares, “is what we use in IRC to assess a boat’s potential performance – the ability, or lack of ability of the helmsman and crew is not included.”
Is Chairman Wykeham-Martin writing with ‘tongue-in-cheek’ or is he having a ‘dig’ at ECHO ‘handicap’ system – Oops - there’s that word again?
He’ll have a bit of a job to eradicate the description ‘handicap’ from racing, but maybe the desire to do so is part of the changes which are announced in IRC in the very first page of the Yearbook. There are seven Rule Changes listed, plus ‘Definitions’ and other changes.
Amongst them the ‘default’ values for mainsail widths have been deleted, as this was considered inconsistent with the Rule on Headsails.
One of the more fundamental changes in the Rules is the deletion of the ‘Dayboat Definition and Rule 24.’ IRC and its predecessor CHS - remember that ‘handicap system’ –had defined a Dayboat as one which could not comply with Offshore Special Regulations and so Rule 24 stipulated a minimum self-righting angle and items that IRC-rated or ‘handicapped’ depending upon your regard for words and the Chairman’s view, should carry. In quite a few instances ‘Dayboat’ definition seemed to have a relevance to lifelines and, so could refer to boats from 1720s to J Class Yachts.
If you are an IRC holder, look it all up in the yearbook, but don’t mention the word ‘handicap’ if you want to ‘rate’ with the IRC afficionados!
Listen to the Podcast here.
The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) is running a workshop to examine the future role of ICRA this month.
ICRA has issued an invitation to clubs and individuals that are key to the development of cruiser racing with a view to develop a plan to chart the way forward for ICRA.
ICRA has been in existence now for 16 years and has organised 16 national championships and annual conferences in that time.
In addition ICRA has been developing a training and development role for cruiser racing in recent years. ICRA is recognised by Irish Sailing [IS, formerly ISA] as the national body to perform these tasks.
ICRA is now at the point where it feels the need to take an 'in depth look at its role' in the future.
Following this workshop a draft plan will be prepared and circulated with a view to being approved at the ICRA annual conference on Saturday, 24th February, 2018.
The meeting will take the form of a brainstorming session led by Steve Griffiths of gcass, who is a former Strategy Development manager with World Rugby and Head of Organisation Development with that body over an eighteen year period.
A successful new development in the national sailing programme will inevitably be something of a revolution. Yet if those managing the event handle it in the right way, the changeover can take place without people thinking that anything really revolutionary – in the sense of a sudden and complete change – has taken place. W M Nixon takes a look at the successful unveiling of the new-style Wave Regatta planned for his home port of Howth for next year’s June Bank Holiday Weekend.
Preparation is everything. Quiet work behind the scenes in trying to visualize every practical and administrative glitch which might arise, and how best to deal with it well before it becomes a problem, is essential. Getting key people – decision-makers and can-do people, local, regional and national – firmly on side, is absolutely essential.
Testing the waters of consumer opinion with trial announcements and proposals, and the occasional test run maybe disguised as something else, is also part of the process. Yet revealing too much of what is taking shape before it is really ready to go public can do more harm than good.
Thus when Howth Yacht Club’s Wave Regatta 2018 was unveiled after a crisp and businesslike Annual General Meeting in the clubhouse on Thursday night, not only was it a very complete and appealing concept in itself, but it emerged fully formed, and in a style well presented to an audience filled with fresh enthusiasm.
After all, Commodore Joe McPeake had just finished chairing an AGM whose mood was enthusiastic after the publication of a set of figures which showed that the huge extra voluntary effort and support which the club has received from many of its members during the past 18 months has paid real dividends. While the improving mood had become increasingly apparent as the season progressed, by Thursday night if you could somehow have linked it to the National Grid, you’d have lit the village with it.
Inevitably, Howth gets compared to the big southside clubs of Dun Laoghaire, and the way their huge reservoir of personnel resources - further augmented by the overall administration of Dublin Bay Sailing Club, and with the large marina run as a commercial venture – frees up a enormous pool of talent to keep a high-powered show on the road. For when all is said and done, only Dun Laoghaire - with its unique selection of stately shoreside facilities - could stage an event like the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta.
But in Howth, the one club has to do everything. So instead of trying to rival Dun Laoghaire, today’s Howth sailors see their strength in being themselves in their own special peninsular port, which is neither Dublin nor northside nor remotely southside. On the contrary, it’s emphatically part of Fingal. And it’s indisputably Eastside. On top of all that, as its basic geology is twice as old as anywhere nearby, it is Ireland which is the add-on to Howth, rather than the other way round.
However, that’s not in anyone’s mind in Howth at all this weekend, as we realize the leap of the imagination which has transformed some long-established Howth events by combining them with new concepts, and then steering the whole package into a significant gap in the market which had been hidden there in plain sight for all to see.
For the overall shape of the 2018 National Sailing Programme is unusual. The biennial Volvo Round Ireland Race from Wicklow has been shifted to the last weekend of June, presumably because its time-honoured slot right on the mid-summer weekend around June 23rd would have clashed with the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race itself in The Hague at the same time.
So with the Volvo Round Ireland on June 30th, Volvo Cork Week in its turn was moved back to July 16th to 21st. And while those who seek a fun regatta with holiday overtones have Calves Week in Schull from August 7th to 10th, those in pursuit of racing with recognised national titles at the end of it have the ICRA Nationals at Galway from 15th to 18th August.
What it meant to those in Howth was that there wasn’t a major cruiser-racer championship on Ireland’s East Coast for the entire season, and particularly not in June and early July when the heavies generally expect an event of this type. But that realisation came after they’d already set in motion a project to re-invigorate their traditional Lambay Race, which has been staged annually since at least 1904 and maybe earlier.
In times past, with smaller craft such as the 1898-established Howth 17s (happily still with us, and stronger as a class than ever), simply racing round the island of Lambay from Howth was enough for a long day’s race. But with newer and much bigger craft joining the mix, all sorts of ways had to be found to increase the length of the Lambay Race for the big boats, while retaining its character. Yet by this stage, the programme generally was becoming crowded, with the revival of ISORA posing new problems of rival events.
A partial solution was reached this year when the ever-obliging ISORA Chairman Peter Ryan agreed to incorporate the annual Lambay Race as the main section of an ISORA Race which would start with the Lambay fleet and sail through its course and finish line, but then race on to a finish in Dublin Bay to provide the kind of distance ISORA expects.
However, for 2018, the Lambay Race on Saturday June 2nd will be a fully-fledged ISORA event in its own right. But it will literally be a Lambay-Race-With-Knobs-On for the Cruiser-Racer classes, as the organisers are planning a morning start and probably taking in Rockabill and the Kish to provide a perfect miniature offshore course.
Having the full ISORA imprimatur on this extended Lambay Race provides the new Wave Regatta with the massive corner-stone which enables the Organising Committee, chaired by former HYC Commodore Brian Turvey, to build a full three-day programme around it, for they can be confident that local One Design Classes such as the Puppeteer 22s and the Howth 17s will already be doing the Lambay Race in its traditional form. As well, Sportsboat Classes like the SB20s and the 1720s will also have the option of a start. And if the IRC Class divisions are made in the right way, we’ll have the J/109s, the J/80s and the J/24s racing as classes-within-classes to add that bit of extra zing.
As the possibilities became clearer, one extra bit of information encouraged the Howth group to go for it big time in promoting an event with three days of solid racing as a viable biennial alternative to the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta. This was the news that, in future, in every even year the annual ICRA Nationals will be staged at a non-Dublin venue – August’s Galway venue is the start of this process.
This meant that the Howth team really had to get their skates on in order to have a realistic proposition and programme in place in time for an official unveiling at Thursday’s HYC AGM on December 14th. Even with test runs on various aspects of the main idea during the past couple of seasons, the actual countdown time was short enough, but by Thursday night such a complete package could be put on display that they were able to tell us that Fingal County Council were giving major support, there was every encouragement from the Harbour Authority, and HYC member Michael Wright had come on to the Committee to act as shoreside hospitality director, while also bringing in the support of his Wright Hospitality Group.
In fact, these days with its proliferation of characterful restaurants and hospitality hotspots, Howth’s shoreside entertainment is soon in place. So it’s the programme afloat which has to match it, and here the organisers have hit the target by having Irish Sailing President Jack Roy take on the role as one of the senior Race Officers, another being former President David Lovegrove. Howth-based Race Officers such as David Lovegrove and Harry Gallagher have long made a major input into Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta, so all these top men afloat are accustomed to working with each other in the most demanding situations.
They’re also accustomed to inter-acting with the “customers” after racing, and it was their reports of overseas visitors to the Dun Laoghaire Regatta expressing a wish to take part in some sort of major event in the Greater Dublin area every year which encouraged the Howth team to think that, with proper planning, they could provide an alternate biennial regatta which would be different from Dun Laoghaire, yet express the same mood of good but not too serious sport afloat, and high-powered entertainment ashore, with an emphasis on attracting younger participants.
Flexibility is the approach. For those who wish to do just the Lambay Race on the Saturday, that’s fine. But for those who want the Full Irish of a really good programme of sport, there’ll be three races on Friday 1st June, and three more on Sunday June 3rd, while the Bank Holiday Monday will be given over to a Family Day which was very popular in 2017, and will be further developed next year.
As with everything to do with sailing in Ireland, the weather factor will be considerable. But for those of us who have done more than a few Lambay Races, the good memories linger best, and they’re of an effortless regatta atmosphere with an element of local pride, for it’s the coast of Fingal we’ve been racing along, one of all Ireland’s finest islands we’ve been racing round, and it’s our own home port under the hill that we’ve raced home to.
Which makes it fine for those who live locally. But the Wave Regatta Committee, in which Dave Cullen plays a key role as one of the leading ideas experts while officially he’s called Director of Racing, realise that the fact of Howth being on a peninsula and the village being largely residential, with a shortage of hotel bedrooms, can provide a challenge for those who live elsewhere, but want to keep their boats race-ready rather than as floating caravans.
So HYC have hired 30 campervans which will be available for rent in the car-park beside the club, and as well local sailors have made it clear they’ll be more than hospitable in providing accommodation. As for the problem of the DART from Dun Laoghaire not starting until late on a Sunday morning, they’ve swung a deal with Dublin Bay Cruises whereby the familiar blue-hulled St Brigid will depart her berth in Dun Laoghaire at 08:15 Sunday morning, bound for Howth and the final day of racing.
It’s that sort of off-the-wall yet actually very sound idea which gives us some idea of the thought which is going into this new Wave Regatta at Howth. You can do a lot of sailing in three days if everything is in place, and this team is determined that it will be.
Meanwhile, let’s hear it for the home squad, the new HYC Club Officers who were elected on Thursday night, and will have their agenda will filled throughout their time in office, as plans for 2018 include the establishment of a fully-fledged Sailing School within the club. They are: Commodore: Joe McPeake; Vice Commodore: Ian Byrne; Rear Commodore: Paddy Judge; Rear Commodore: Ian Malcolm; Hon. Secretary: Bernie Condy; Hon. Sailing Secretary: Caroline Koster; Honorary Treasurer: David Mulligan.
The Annual General Meeting of the 2017 West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (WIORA) took place at the Dromoland Inn in Co. Clare earlier this week. Among the items discussed on the night was the combined 2018 WIORA ICRA Championships which will be run in Galway Bay next August. In acknowledging that combining events can mean an increase in costs to boat owners and participants, and as a gesture of goodwill and thanks to its members for their continued support, WIORA have voted to suspend membership fees for 2018. The venue for the 2019 West Coast Championships was also decided at the AGM with Foynes Yacht Club being awarded the event.
After twelve years in his role as Honorary Secretary of the Association, Thomas Whelan from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland, stepped down at the AGM. WIORA Commodore, Simon McGibney, the WIORA committee and its members would like to sincerely thank Thomas for all his years of service and contribution to promoting cruiser racing along the west coast and wish him the very best of luck with his new found free time next year.