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Opportunities for Competitive Sailing Prompt Proposal for Irish Asymmetrical Sports Boat Association

27th March 2022
Alan McLernon’s J80 Jezebel
Alan McLernon’s J80 Jezebel

It would be no exaggeration to say that Ian Patterson from East Antrim Boat Club at Larne likes a challenge and the bigger the challenge, it seems, the better.

Ian is, he says, “enthusiastic about helping form an Irish Asymmetric Sports Boat Association with the emphasis on bringing sports boats together under a handicap system that recognises the unique characteristics of sportsboats, including large sail areas and light displacement”.

Ian owns a Viper 640 sportsboat which he has raced successfully locally and at Carrickfergus Sailing Club, also in Northern Ireland.

But before venturing into the world of fast-moving sportsboats, Ian sailed and raced his North Channel 9m, Wildwood — a nine-year amateur build finished in 2012 in which he contested the 2014 Round Ireland Race, placing fifth in IRC 3 and gaining from Winkie Nixon the title of “tiddler of the fleet” in Afloat of 27 June that year.

Continuing his quest for excitement, he entered Wildwood in the 2016 Scottish Islands Peaks Race with friends from the Belfast Association of Rockclimbers and Fellrunners.

Ian Patterson’s Viper 640Ian Patterson’s Viper 640

Now with Wildwood moved on, he would like to create a sportsboat class/fleet to meet up at as yet unknown regattas this season, leading to a ‘circuit’ of sorts. He is also apparently trying to persuade East Antrim BC and Carrickfergus SC to offer an IRC start for rating qualifiers flying asymmetric spinnakers.

In the CSC 2021 Autumn series, there were four in the NHC Unrestricted class: Sid, Ian Patterson’s Viper in first place; the J80 Jezebel owned by Alan McClernon (CSC) in third; the Pure 6 owned by Jackson Smyth (fourth CSC) and Paul Fekkes’ Ultimate 20 Black and Slippy, who unfortunately only raced once.

About his idea of an Irish Asymmetric Sports Boat Association, Ian emphasises that “the ability to optimise your boat and sails under this rule will be crucial in generating a dynamic and evolving class.

“There are many different sportsboats already in Ireland and this class should not compete with any existing one-design classes but should be there to offer more opportunities to sail your boat and experiment with different set ups.

“This is already a proven concept within the southern hemisphere, and I feel there is an opportunity for Irish sailors with sportsboats to travel to four or five events per year and get exiting competitive sailing that will not break the bank.”

For more, see the Irish Asymmetric Sports Boats group page on Facebook.

Published in Racing
Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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