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53-Boat ICRA National Championships is a Boost for West Coast Sailing

9th August 2018
The Joker II crew from Dun Laoghaire skippered by John Maybury will defend their ICRA crown in Galway Bay The Joker II crew from Dun Laoghaire skippered by John Maybury will defend their ICRA crown in Galway Bay Photo: Bob Bateman

From Thursday 16 August, Galway Bay Sailing Club hosts Ireland’s national cruiser racing championships for the first time — and a significant turnout is expected from clubs all along the West Coast.

As David O'Brien writes in the Irish Times today here, the upcoming ICRA Cruiser Nationals are, as the association’s Commodore Simon McGibney puts it, a “reminder of the resurgence of the sailing scene in the West”.

McGibney — also of Foynes Yacht Club at the mouth of the Shannon — lobbied hard for Galway to host the event following the success of 2013’s championships at Tralee Bay, which attracted a 61-strong fleet to the first Western-hosted nationals in ICRA history.

Simon McGibneyICRA Commodore Simon McGibney – delivering a boost to West Coast sailing

Indeed, nine of the 15 yacht clubs represented in this year’s entry list is based in the West — and both the host club and Foynes will be sending 11 boats each.

Given that four-fifths of the cruiser fleet is based on the East Coast, and that the event faces competition from Calves Week among others, that’s no mean feat.

Freya Xp 50 GalwayConor Doyle's Xp 50 Freya berthed in Galway Docks ahead of the ICRA Nationals next week. Photo: Aoife Mackey

Meanwhile, as smaller clubs like Garrykennedy and Mullaghmore are taking the opportunity to get noticed on the national scene, smaller boats will also be at the fore in Galway Bay next week.

Corby 25s, J24s and quarter tonners fill out a list of entries that includes the long-standing Class 1 champion Joker II, the J109 sailed by John Maybury who will be defending his title for the third year in a row.

Three other national titles will be decided along with the West of Ireland regionals which kick off what promises to be an exciting few days of racing from Wednesday 15 August

Sailing Instructions and class divisions are downloadable below.

The Nationals and the West Coast Championships are being held between the 15th and 18th of August and feature four days of action packed sailing and social events.

ICRA Nationals schedule of racesThe ICRA National Championships schedule of races

Captain Brian Sheridan from the Port of Galway has generously arranged free cranage and berthage for the duration of the event.

Class divisions in the fleet are expected shortly and will be posted on

The ICRA National Championships Sailing Instructions are downloadable below as a PDF file


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)


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.

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