While Storm Jorge put a dent in the number of attendees at ICRA's annual conference including Evelyn Cusack being able to attend, a vibrant gathering of over 50 sailors attended the Royal Irish Yacht Club.
Following an introduction by Commodore Richard Colwell, several presentations were made including those from UK Sailmakers Ireland's Barry Hayes and Maurice O’Connell of North Sails. Further presentations were made by WAVE Regatta, Cork Week 300 and Round Ireland 2020.
David Cullen hosted a forum that concentrated on policing the ICRA Rule and this provoked an interesting discussion that concluded inspections of boats should become more regular at regattas.
Brian Raftery had a great update on the progress of the Under 25 initiative that has caught the imagination of the youth from several Clubs with campaigns already emerging. Tadg O’Lionsigh of Tralee Bay guided the attendees through his own campaign from rebuilding a battered J24 to hitting the water at speed.
RCYC Admiral Colin Morehead accompanied by Kieran O’Connell and Roscoe Deasy outlined the big changes being made for Cork Week. The decision to allow boats rating greater than 0.980 to participate in both ICRA and the IRC Europeans was welcomed by all, meaning the new formula ICRA event means boats will be scored for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday whilst Wednesday will be a totally standalone Harbour Race spectacular.
The outstanding presentation of the day came from ICRA Committee member and Tralee Bay Sailing Club Commodore Liam Lynch. Liam personally reformulated the ECHO system in 2019 and recapped on the success of this new formula that had been adopted for the major 2019 regattas. He demonstrated that the new formula used produced significantly different results from the previous ECHO formula. It is intended that the new system is adopted for all major Irish regattas in 2020 and this will ensure that all yachts will have a real chance of podium results at whatever they attend.
Commodore Richard Colwell commended Liam for his hard work and enthused over the fact that yachts that had previously been excluded from getting prizes now had a real chance of winning if they sailed well. The attendees hugely welcomed this new initiative which will bring more cruiser racers to regattas and increase participation and enjoyment by all.
Colwell also announced that the 2021 ICRAs will be held in the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay while Dave Cullen outlined the events that would contribute points towards the 2020 Boat of the Year award, details of which can be found at www.cruiserracing.ie.
The day wound up with the presentation of the Boat of the Year Trophy to Paul O’Higgins and crew on Rockabill VI.