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New ICRA Commodore Aims to Recruit New Crews to Boost Sailing

19th November 2012
New ICRA Commodore Aims to Recruit New Crews to Boost Sailing

#ICRA –  The Irish Cruiser Racing Association's (ICRA) new Commodore seeks to increase participation in cruiser racing during his five year term in office. In his opening address to delegates at the ICRA conference on Saturday Norbert Reilly said he believes the expansion potential for Irish sailing – up to three or four time its existing size – is huge compared to other sports as participation in competitive sailing can be much longer than in other sports.

Experienced keelboat campaigner Reilly, the new man at the helm of cruiser racer sailing in Ireland, said that as well as building on the successes of his predecessors in 2013 ICRA wants to recruit new people into sailing to replace those lost during the recession.

A new ICRA crew training programme will be introduced and the initiative will be club based. It will run to uniform ICRA standards at a number of sailing centres with a programme drawn up by former national sailing coach Dave Harte now based in Schull.  The aim is to train crews, such as the role of bowman, to a quality standard for local, national and international events.

The ICRA conference was told quality training for new people would produce a valuable supply of crews to help sail the existing fleet. It will provide a 'route to the boats' for newcomers that can also boost flagging yacht club memberships.

Reilly currently races the Dublin based Mills 36 Crazy Horse and has been running cruiser racer campaigns from Howth since the 1980s including the well known Comanche Raider.

Published in ICRA Team

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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)