#boatofthe year – The NUI Galway campaign sailing Martin Breen's Galway Reflex 38 yacht has been named ICRA's Boat of the Year. The prize was presented in Kilkenny this afternoon and applauded by a wide cross section of delegates at the one day ICRA conference including leading sail makers, race organisers, Olympic race officer Jack Roy and Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) champion Damian Foxall.
The NUI campaign was picked ahead of six other boats shortlisted for the prize.
NUI Galway campaign manager Cathal Clarke said the boat's aim in 2012 was to inspire other sailors from the West Coast to undertake similar projects and for the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race sailors to get out there and get sailing.
The ICRA Judges said the student based campaign embodied the spirit of ICRA with a campaign that featured competition in many venues around the country.
Following an overall win in the 2011 Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race as 'Galway Harbour' Martin Breen's Reflex 38 was prepared for the 2012 Round Ireland by students of NUIG and raced as 'NUIGALWAY'. The students won Class 2 and were the first Irish fixed keel boat, finishing sixth overall.
They were also class 1 winners in the Pwllheli to Wicklow ISORA race in preparation for June's Round Ireland race.
The boat is raced by a separate inshore crew and in 2012 they competed in the 2012 ICRA Nationals in Howth, Cork Week and Calves Week. In 2013 they will plan to race at the ICRA Nationals in Fenit and also in the Sovereigns Cup in Kinsale.
The NUI Galway Round Ireland crew were Ben Scallan (helm), Eoghan McGregor (helm), Joan Mulloy (trimmer), Mark Armstrong (trimmer), Cathal Clarke (trimmer), Back row (left to right) Eoin Breen (bowman), Conor Kinsella (Mainsail trimmer), David Fitzgerald, (bowman), Louis Mulloy (bowman) and Ruaidhri De Faoite (mainsail trimmer).
One of the main aims of NUI campaign was to promote the home-grown sailing talent in Galway. Boat skipper, Cathal Clarke said: "The vision of this project is to prove the wealth of sailing talent here on the west coast and to encourage the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race sailors to get out there and get sailing. We aim to inspire other sailors from the region to undertake such projects in the future."