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Heading West : ICRA Nationals

9th June 2009

 ICRA National Championships in full swing

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s National Cruiser Sailing Championships is now just a week away and for the first time ever it’s being hosted on the West Coast by Tralee Bay SC – a club well used to giving a warm welcome to sailors: they’ve hosted events on all levels from Club to World Championships on this beautiful idyllic part of our coast.

Over 70 boats will contest the right to become the Irish National Cruiser Champion in each of the divisions and the spoils will be Irish Sailing Association Medallions and a place at the ISA Helmsman's Championships at the end of the season for their achievement.

Last years Division Zero winner Dave Dwyer's Marinerscove.ie is presently preparing on the Solent for the UK IRC Nationals (6–7 June), but Dave’s commitment to defend his closely-won title at last years National Cruiser Championships in Howth has put his crew on a tight schedule to get the boat back in time for the first gun in Tralee. Eamon Rohan (King 40 Blonde IV) will be Marinerscove.ie’s main competition, finishing a very creditable 3rd at last year’s event. Other strong competition in this division will come from Kieran Twomey’s Corby 38 Gloves Off, Tim Costello’s Mills 43 Tiamat, George Sisk’s Farr 42 WOW, under the burgee of the Royal Irish YC and the host club giving him an advantage over the rest of the fleet outside of Rob Allen’s Corby 36 Mustang Sally from the Royal Western YC.

In Division One Mike McCarthy’s Ker 32 Checkmate will be one to watch but in this division there are plenty of diverse competitive boats: Barry Cunningham’s Corby 33 Contango; two J109 – S. and J. Tyrrell’s Aquelina and Pat Kelly’s Storm; Anthony O’Leary from the Royal Cork has entered a modified 1720 Antix Beag; Denis Hewit is bringing his Mills 30  Raptor from the Royal Irish; and some local boats – Martin Reilly’s Corby 29 Esperanto, Eddie Barry’s 40.7 Caolila and Dan Counihan’s First 36.7 Galileo. X-Yachts are out in force in this division: X332s include Ian Gaughan’s Xena, Thomas and Kieran Whelan’s Chaos, Team Foynes’ Dexterity, and host club boat Donal Brown’s Excuse Me; X362s have David Scott’s Eos, Derry Good’s Exhale, and Donal O’Leary’s X35.

Attracting the greatest number of entries is Division Two and the hot favorite must be Colwell/Murphy’s Corby 25 Kinetic from Howth Yacht Club, winner of this division last year – that’s not to say that they will get it all their own way, one of the boats that will be trying to take their title away is current West Coast Champion Conor Ronan’s Corby 26 Ruthless; then Corby 25s – Vincent O’Shea’s Yanks & ffrancs, Denis Coleman’s Thunderbird, and Denis Ellis’s Corby 27 Kodachi; also Sigma’s 33s – Commodore of the host club Liam Lynch’s Powder Monkey, Peader O’ Laughlin‘s Reconaissance, David Buckley’s Boojum, Finbarr O’Connell’s Treyona, and finally Dehler 34s – Raymond McGibney’s Disaray, David Griffin’s Egalite, and Derrick Dillon’s Big Deal to mention a few.

Division Three is as competitive as ever with Vincent Gaffney’s Albin Express Alliance topping the bill, being a past Division Champion and current West Coast Champion from Howth Yacht Club, but with plenty of competition to make this division very competitive indeed – Paul McGibney’s J24 Virgin will have his first outing at National level, but as we saw at last year’s event the J24s were the ones to beat. Three HB31s are also in this division – John Buckley’s Headhunter, Gary Fort’s K Vector, Mark Prendeville’s Rooster, two Shamrocks – C. MacDonncha’s Sliver Foam from Galway and J.P. Buckley’s Battle, Jackie Ward’s Parker 27 Hallmark, and D. Losty’s very successful Quarter Tonner Woody to name but a few.

Race Officers Alan Crosibe, Rob Lamb and Liam Dinneen with their formidable teams will ensure competitors’ exhilarating sailing over a variety of courses over the three days racing.

ICRA National Cruiser Championships, Tralee Bay Sailing Club 11 –13 June 2009

Published in ICRA
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The Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Information

The creation of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) began in a very low key way in the autumn of 2002 with an exploratory meeting between Denis Kiely, Jim Donegan and Fintan Cairns in the Granville Hotel in Waterford, and the first conference was held in February 2003 in Kilkenny.

While numbers of cruiser-racers were large, their specific locations were widespread, but there was simply no denying the numerical strength and majority power of the Cork-Dublin axis. To get what was then a very novel concept up and running, this strength of numbers had to be acknowledged, and the first National Championship in 2003 reflected this, as it was staged in Howth.

ICRA was run by a dedicated group of volunteers each of whom brought their special talents to the organisation. Jim Donegan, the elder statesman, was so much more interested in the wellbeing of the new organisation than in personal advancement that he insisted on Fintan Cairns being the first Commodore, while the distinguished Cork sailor was more than content to be Vice Commodore.

ICRA National Championships

Initially, the highlight of the ICRA season was the National Championship, which is essentially self-limiting, as it is restricted to boats which have or would be eligible for an IRC Rating. Boats not actually rated but eligible were catered for by ICRA’s ace number-cruncher Denis Kiely, who took Ireland’s long-established native rating system ECHO to new heights, thereby providing for extra entries which brought fleet numbers at most annual national championships to comfortably above the hundred mark, particularly at the height of the boom years. 

ICRA Boat of the Year (Winners 2004-2019)

 

ICRA Nationals 2021

The date for the 2021 edition of the ICRA National Championships is 3-5 September at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

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