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Man Overboard Costs Cri Cri Shot at Welsh IRC Title

6th August 2014
Man Overboard Costs Cri Cri Shot at Welsh IRC Title

#welshIRC – Did you know there was a catchy named 'RORC North Western IRC Regional Championships' submerged beneath 'Abersoch Keelboat Week'? As one Irish interloper explained it's been some years since a week swinging on a mooring was de rigueur and Keelboat Week attracted much beyond local interest. Down the road at Pwllheli they have a well serviced marina, a national events centre with grand plans for expansion and a Celtic Regatta that has also recently become of little more than local interest.

Put the cruiser/racer event and the cruiser/racer friendly venue together and north Wales finally has the beginnings of a big boat event worth travelling for. For 2014 the rebadged Spinlock Welsh IRC Championships, with the support of ISORA and ICRA, drew interest from the north west of England, Scotland and Dublin and a competitive 40 boat fleet.

If competing interests can be navigated and a stable date found in the Celtic sailing calendar, add a patch of water whose simple (although not quite as minimal as the locals would like you to believe) tide and wind patterns offer a different challenge to anything found in the major sailing centres of Ireland or west of Scotland and the south coast of the Llyn peninsular may have the ingredients for a top class championships.

Confounding the measly forecast 2 races where sailed in 18 – 22 knots on the Friday. Royal Irish quarter tonner Cri Cri, skippered by Paul Colton, made a commanding start with a first in both races in Class 1, while the Sigma 33 Legless Again took 2nd and 3rd to take 2nd spot at the end of day 1. In Class 0, it was evident that Corby 36 Stratisfear, Corby 33 Imposter and Roxstar were serious contenders for the top spot with the Stratisfear taking a 2nd and 1st, Imposter taking 1st and 3rd and Roxstar 3rd and 2nd.

Overnight the fleet made welcome use of the brand new visitor and events pontoons at Pwllheli. These pontoons are part of the £8.3m investment from the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and Gwynedd Council in the new Welsh National Sailing Academy and Events Centre that will open its doors in 2015. 2 cranes are to be added by the time next years event gets under way making attending the event even easier.

After a further 4 races on Saturday Stratisfear's consistent performance put them firmly in the lead adding a 3rd and another first to two wins from the morning. Roxstar followed close on their heels.

In class 1 Molissa and She Too all ended the day in contention. Eazi Tiger's consistent performance had them in 3rd place overall, a broken life line in race 3 slipped CriCri, into 2nd place and, after some highly consistent sailing, the J97 Injenious moored for the day in first place overall.

With winds over 30 knots on Sunday racing for class 1 was abandoned. In class 0 local J109s Mojito and Sgrech got the best starts on the 24nm course and were off across the bay towards the St. Tudwal islands before some others had started as some were struggling to get sails up in the conditions.

Round the islands and through some challenging seas, Imposter took the lead and line honours with Mojito 2nd and Gringo (National Yacht Club skippered by Tony Fox) third on the water.

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. 

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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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