Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Renowned Yacht Designer Jason Ker Awarded Honorary Degree  

10th July 2018
Jason Ker Jason Ker

World-renowned yacht designer Jason Ker, has been awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Maritime Studies by Solent University today.

Founder of Ker Yacht Design, an industry-leading company based in Winchester, Jason has forged a formidable reputation for racing yachts, later expanding into high performance cruising monohulls and catamarans. 

Jason said: "I’m absolutely honoured to receive this award. Solent gave me a fantastic grounding in engineering that has allowed me to develop my skills and keep learning throughout my career. It’s amazing how the lessons I learned over 20 years ago still form so much of what I know today." 

A passionate racing sailor from an early age and representing the UK at the senior level aged sixteen, Jason continued yacht racing during his time at Solent University, winning multiple National titles as a helmsman. 

A diverse early career included building composite yachts near Sydney, conceptual R&D for fast car ferries in Tasmania, and multihulls and trimaran superyachts in the UK. Jason’s first design commission in 1997 quickly led to further commissions and the start of Ker Yacht Design.

Jason’s designs have had worldwide success, winning the hotly contested ‘big boat’ class at the UK IRC National Championships ten times, and consecutively for the last seven years.

A pivotal point in Jason’s career came with the design commission for a 55’ racing yacht named “Aera”. Its domination caused a stir, winning all seven of the inshore races of the 2003 Admirals Cup and the overall trophy for the 2004 Sydney to Hobart race.

Aged 33, Jason was recruited to set up and lead the design team for “Team Shosholoza”; the first South African America’s Cup Challenge, who were highly respected for their speed despite a relatively small budget. The key to Shosholoza’s remarkable speed was Jason’s ground-breaking approach relying on advanced computer simulation techniques.

"Everything is changing all time and what's cutting edge now will be antiquated before you know it!"

Continuous technological development has proved a hallmark of Jason’s career, not only during two further America’s Cups but also on his designs of racing yachts and successful projects in ship hull form optimisation.

Jason added: "My top tip for graduates today is to keep learning, and to stay on top of modern technologies - everything is changing all time and what's cutting edge now will be antiquated before you know it!"

Published in ICRA Team

About The Author Team

Email The Author is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open. is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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 2020

The date for the 2020 edition of the ICRA National Championships is September 11-13th, it will be sailed at Howth Yacht Club as part of WAVE Regatta

ICRA Nationals 2021

The date for the 2021 edition of the ICRA National Championships is 28-31 May at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Car Brands

subaru sidebutton

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton dob
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Wave button for Afloat new dates

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

quantum sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating