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Who Are the Likely IRC Scottish Series Winners?

23rd May 2019
Class Zero competitor El Gran Señor Class Zero competitor El Gran Señor Photo: Marc Turner

As Afloat previously reported Irish boats are expected to perform well in this weekend's Scottish Series on Loch Fyne. Now armed with a decidedly mixed weather forecast, Afloat takes another a closer look at the runners and riders and predicts some winners

Class 0 - El Gran Señor to Nick it?

Spirit of Jacana from Northern Ireland took a good win last year from Courier Recommende with Royal Cork yacht Jump Juice Third. This year Courier or Jump are not there so Spirit of Jacana will have to battle against Aurora and El Gran Señor from Last year plus Forty Licks from County Down. Forty Licks will be consistent as will El Gran Señor. If the breeze is up, Spirit of Jacana will romp around the course and be very likely to win, but you can expect John Anderson on El Gran Señor to nick it if conditions are otherwise. He has shown some great pace in his J122e last year at Cork Week and he knows the Lough well. Numbers are down from 9 to 6 in this class, this year.

Animal Scottish seriesAnimal, the Beneteau 36.7 Photo: Marc Turner

RC 35 Class - Animal is the One to Watch

Likely the strongest fleet again this year. Pat Kelly's Storm took the Class and overall Scottish Series trophy last year for winning this class, but it went right down to the last race with Something else from DL, who pushed them very hard.

Something else is back, from Dun Laoghaire, along with Andrew Craig's Chimera (with pro-Maurice O'Connell from North Sails aboard), both J109s. Expect it not to be an all J109 affair though. Animal, the Beneteau 36.7 took the Honours a fortnight ago in the Kip Regatta from Storm and she is a potent performer, especially in light winds.

There are a number of other competitive entries in this 14 boat fleet, all very much around the same rating, including Stuart Cranston's Ker 32 Highjacker from Strangford Lough, with pro-Mark Mansfield from UK Sailmakers, calling tactics. This boat previously competed for Ireland in the 2006 Commodores Cup, under the name Checkmate, She is a sistership on the Ker 32 Voodoo Chile. She will favour the stronger conditions but is also expected to hang on in the lighter breeze. This will be a tightly contested fleet, with any one of the above boats likely taking the spoils, but Animal is likely the one to watch with her 2019 win at Kip regatta already under her belt.

IRC Class 3 - 'F'n Gr8', Mata or Harmony?

14 entries also in this one with likely 4 or 5 potential winners. Last year's Cork Week overall winner, Rory Fekkes highly modified First Class 8 From Carrickfergus, F'n Gr8, will be in the running, along with a similar sized Quarter Tonner, Phoenix, and if conditions are light, these two will be potent. However, in mixed conditions, the two half tonners, Mata from D and M Wright from Howth Yacht Club and Jonny Swan's Harmony will likely be the ones to beat. Mata is newly acquired by the Wrights and the core crew comes from top ex under–25 sailors from Howth. Expect them to give Harmony a good run for their money. Both the HYC Half tonners will sail with pros from North Sails Ireland, more here.

Racing starts tomorrow (Friday) and runs through to Monday. 

Results here

Published in Scottish Series, ICRA
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Scottish Series Background

Although the format of the Scottish Series varies little from year to year, it is interesting to see some of the changes which the event has seen over the years:

  • CYCA handicap class added to IOR (1976)
  • IOR level rating classes to reflect the popular sizes and World Championships being held in the UK
  • Separate one design class for Sonatas (1980 to date)
  • Campbeltown dropped with offshore races direct to Tarbert (1982)
  • Unique light displacement CYCA class - the forerunner of today's sportboats (1982)
  • Computer results system introduced in 1982 and now recognised as the best in the UK
  • Separate one design class for Sigma 33 (1987 to date)
  • Separate one design classes in certain years for Impalas, Sigma 38, Melges 24 and Cork 1720
  • Inner triangle to shorten courses for smaller classes (1986)
  • Points loading for offshore race reduced from 2 to 1.5 to 1
  • First racing in Scotland under Channel Handicap (1988)
  • Second racecourse for smaller classes (1989)
  • Discard introduced
  • Windward leeward races - two per day (1993)
  • Sportboat classes with no overnight races (1994)
  • Marquee on quayside for main social events (1995-2008)
  • Restricted Sail Class (1998)
  • Third racecourse for sportboats with up to three races per day (1998)
  • Day feeder races (2002)
  • Overnight and day feeder races discontinued (2005)
  • Stand-alone Tarbert Inbound and Outbound passage races introduced (2005/6)

With all these changes, some things have stayed the same:

  • Huge support from Ireland every year since 1975
  • A magnificent effort ashore and afloat from the volunteer helpers of the Clyde Cruising Club, Royal Scottish Motor Yacht Club and Tarbert Loch Fyne Yacht Club
  • Results and communications service at the forefront of technology
  • The best competition and the best social scene in the country
  • An overall Series winner, the roll call including many of the top sailors in Scotland and beyond.

Scottish Series 2020

The dates for the 2020 edition of Scotland's biggest sailing event at Tarbert is: 22 May 2020–25 May 2020

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