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ICRA National Championships 2017: Runners & Riders

2nd June 2017
Tim Goodbody's White Mischief is one of four Dublin J109s competing at the ICRA Nationals at Royal Cork Yacht Club Tim Goodbody's White Mischief is one of four Dublin J109s competing at the ICRA Nationals at Royal Cork Yacht Club Photo: Afloat.ie

Class bands released for next week's ICRA National Championship (see below) reveal a smaller than usual fleet for the Royal Cork Yacht Club Championships but with three events in three weeks all trying to attract boats out of Dublin where 90% of boats are based, it was always going to be a tough nut to crack. Championship fleet sizes will range from four boats in Class Zero to fourteen in Class Four where there will be some great battles for national honours starting next Thursday in Crosshaven. With early forecasts showing strong south-westerly winds prevailing, Afloat.ie sticks its neck out in a 'Runners and Riders' Guide to the 2017 Cork Harbour Championships.

Rockabill V RIYCThe ISORA front runner Rockabill VI, the JPK 10.80 is from the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: Afloat.ie

Class 0 There are just four boats in Class Zero and two are travellers to Cork Harbour. The Dubois 37, Dark Angel, ex–Antix, with Rob O'Leary onboard, won at Cork Week last year beating local favourite Jump Juice (Ker 37) for the top spot, so this pair are likely to produce another close battle next week. If winds are strong, a previous Round Ireland winner, Inis Mor, a Ker 39, will be a force to be reckoned with. [See update: Inis Mor sinks on way to championships –Ed.] The fourth boat entered is a Salona 45, Meridian. With half of the Zero fleet travelling to Cork for the event, the hope is the strong south–westerlies won't deter.

Storm ScotlandPat Kelly's J109 Storm has already won in Scotland (above) this season and is race–ready for the ICRA Nationals. Photo: Marc Turner Class 1 Only the four top J109’s from the 2016 ICRAs are turning up in Cork for this nine–boat class. Joker II, Storm, White Mischief and Jigamaree. The new Dublin Bay J109’s of Andrew Craig and Andrew Algeo are not entered. Algeo's Juggerknot is opting for the D2D and Sovereigns but not ICRAs. The JPK10.80 Rockabill VI (Paul O'Higgins) from the Royal Irish Yacht Club has already shown his potency offshore this season in the ISORA series, pundits say she will be strong in Cork too if all three days are sailed in strong winds, but one light day may prove her undoing. ICRA Boat of the Year, John Maybury's Joker II is going for three–in–a–row of ICRA wins, with Star keelboat Olympian Mark Mansfield as Tactician. Pat Kelly's Storm, fresh from a class win at last month's Scottish Series will certainly be in the mix. The Rush Sailing Club boat has now changed to symmetrical spinnakers which will give her an edge if winds are stronger. Kelly was afloat early this year and competing in the Spring Warmer in Howth and then HYC Wednesday nights. It means this team is race–ready as they have already proved in Scotland. Whether or not the new kite is paying dividends has not been disclosed. A tight–lipped Ronan Kelly told Afloat.ie: 'We can't really give that much feedback as it is very much in the early stages of trial for us'.  The IRC rating is slightly higher than Storm had prior to the change in spinnakers. And the decision to change, says Ronan Kelly, was based on the notion of 'why not try something different out?'

Tim Goodbody's J109 White Mischief is also very likely to be in the mix. Rob McConnell's A35 Fools Gold (second in Scotland last month) will be competitive, especially in stronger winds and former winner in ICRA Tralee 2013, the Xp–33 Bon Exemple (Colin Byrne of the Royal Irish) is also expected to be there or thereabouts. This will be a very competitive class, and wind conditions will likely make a big difference with Joker II the favourite in the mixed conditions but if it is strong on all three days, Rockabill VI is a likely winner.

Checkmate XVIICheckmate XVIII – the old Emiliano Zapata, ex Dick Dastardly, ex French Beret, ex Concorde from 1985 is undergoing a refit in North Wales and hopes to be at the ICRA Nationals in Cork Class 2 Normally, the Half tonners would be favourites in this 12-boat class and any one of Checkmate, Harmony or Big Picture could take it, especially if the conditions are mixed or lighter. Nigel Biggs new Checkmate XVII is entered and this is an unknown factor as is his appearance at all. 'We are putting long hours in at the moment but it's very touch and go. Fingers crossed...' he told Afloat.ie. If conditions are strong expect to see Ross McDonald's X-332 Equinox from Howth to be a dominant player, as she was at the 2015 ICRAs in Kinsale when she won easily in stronger winds. Paul Tingle's X34 Alpaca, as top–rated boat in this class, also could be a wild card.

Dux HYCStronger conditions may suit X302s like Dux from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Afloat.ie

Class 3  The quarter tonners, like the half tonners in class 2 are bottom of this the second biggest class of the ICRA championships with 13 entered. If conditions are light or mixed, expect Paul Gibbons Anchor Challenge to be strong. She has Olympian Kiliian Collins onboard and they will give Ken Lawless’s Cartoon, 2016 ICRA winner, a tough challenge. If conditions are stronger then the Corby 25’s Fusion and Stonehaven racing will be up there as will the two X302’s, Dux and Maximus. The Sigma 33’s could also prove competitive in the breeze. In a mixed event, however, the money would be on Anchor Challenge to take it.

J24 gala racingClose racing for the 16–boat J24 fleet at Foynes Yacht Club, ten J24s including Gala Racing (above) will be in Cork

Class 4 There are 10 J24’s in this class of 14, the event's biggest fleet, and the winner will very likely come from one of them. Corkman, Flor O'Driscoll, with his local knowledge, should be up there on Hard on Port. However, this is a close class and hard to call.

ICRA Nationals 2017 – Class Divisions (as at June 2, 2017). Data supplied by ICRA

DIVISIONBOAT NAMETYPE
     
0 Inis Mor Kerr 39
0 Meridian Salona 45
0 Jump Juice Ker 37
0 Dark Angel Dubois 37
     
1 Rockabill VI JPK 10.80
1 Saxon Senator X37
1 Fools Gold A35
1 Altair First 36.7
1 Storm J109
1 Joker 2 J109
1 Jigamaree J109
1 White Mischief J109
1 Bon Exemple XP33
     
2 Alpaca X-34
2 Ellida X-332
2 Equinox X-332
2 Coracle IV Olson 30
2 Jostler J92
2 Jedi J80
2 Rioja J80
2 Artful Dodger Elan 333
2 Slack Alice GK34
2 Harmony 1/2 Tonner
2 Checkmate XV Mod 1/2 Ton
2 Checkmate XVII Mod 1/2 Ton
     
3 Fusion Corby 25
3 Bad Company Sunfast 32
3 Stonehaven Racing Corby 25
3 Maximus X-302
3 Dux X-302
3 Luas HB31
3 Sea Hawk Sigma 33
3 Flyover Sigma 33 00D
3 Cri-Cri 1/4 ton
3 Powder Monkey Sigma 33
3 No Gnomes Nicholson 30
3 Cartoon 1/4 ton
3 Manzanita 1/4 ton
     
4 Jade J24
4 K25 Team Scandal J24
4 Jumpin' Jive J24
4 Hard on Port J24
4 Stouche J24
4 Johnny Bravo J24
4 Jana J24
4 Gala Racing J24
4 Ya Gotta Wanna J24
4 Jelignite J24
4 Bandit Mod Bolero 26'
4 Relativity Albin Express
4 Whistlin Dixie Impala 28
4 Raffles Sadler32
     
Non Spin Rebellion Lambay 60
Non Spin Nieulargo Grand Soleil 40
Non Spin Indulgence Dehler 365
Non Spin Aisling Dufour 365
Non Spin Sweet Dreams Sun Odyssey 36
Non Spin Surfdancer Elan 333
Non Spin Roaring Forthyes Beneteau 35s5
Non Spin Privateer Dufour 365
Non Spin Lady T Sun Odyssey 32i
Non Spin Loch Greine Hanse 31
Non Spin Aramis Contessa 33
Non Spin Cracker Trapper T250
Non Spin Speedy Gonzales Jaguar 27
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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