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Cruiser-Racer Body ICRA Welcomes Two New Committee Members

29th April 2021
Daragh Connelly is Rear Admiral for Keelboats and sits on the Executive Committee in Royal Cork Yacht Club
New ICRA man Daragh Connelly is Rear Admiral for Keelboats and sits on the Executive Committee in Royal Cork Yacht Club Credit: Bob Bateman

ICRA Commodore, Richard Colwell has welcomed two new Committee members, Saoirse Reynolds and Daragh Connelly to the ommittee of the national cruiser-racer body.

As Afloat reported previously, stepping down from their ICRA roles are Johanna Murphy who’s term as Commodore of SCORA is over and who is now focussing her energies on being President of Cobh Chamber of Commerce whilst race management expert, Cxema Pico steps down as ICRA Secretary. Cxema is one of Ireland’s foremost racing and rules experts and will remain very much involved in race management both domestically and internationally.

Daragh Connelly

Daragh Connelly began sailing aged 7 in Galway Bay Learning the basics of sailing on a traditional Galway Hooker with his grandfather, a keen sailor. Daragh moved to Cork and entered dinghy programme aged 12 in the Royal Cork Yacht Club moving through the stages and competing in the busy mirror circuit fleet and later moving into the laser fleet. Having been through the youth programme in RCYC and then qualifying as an instructor, Daragh spent his late teens and early 20s instructing and setting up an Adult Sailing programme on Nantucket Island with Nantucket Community Sailing and competing in J24s and International One Designs. Returning to Ireland, Daragh spent 15+ years competing in keelboat events onboard the multiple boats known as Yanks$Ffrancs and more recently has been sailing on Heroes & Villains in the competitive 1720 fleet. Daragh is Rear Admiral for Keelboats and sits on the Executive Committee in Royal Cork Yacht Club where he is also an active member of the Cork Week Committee. Daragh is also is chair of SCORA with the goal of promoting coastal and offshore sailing on the South Coast of Ireland.

Saoirse Reynolds

Saoirse Reynolds provides a hugely important link to the younger sailors and is a most welcome addition to the ICRA Committee. Saoirse started sailing dinghies in Dun Laoghaire when she was about 9 and got into sailing bigger boats through family friends and the Rona Sailing Project in Southampton. She started racing at the age of 16 when an injury forced her to stop playing my other sports. Saoirse started instructing around this time also. She has raced lots of different boats over the past few years including RS200s, A35s, J109s, a J122, SB20s and J80s.

Saoirse Reynolds - important link to younger sailorsSaoirse Reynolds - important link to younger sailors

She has competed in ICRA Nationals, Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regattas, Cowes Week, many ISORA races, the D2D and the Fastnet Race over the past couple of years. More recently, she is a regular crew on the J97 Windjammer and also sometimes on the J122 Aurelia. Saoirse is a mentee with the Magenta Project, an organisation founded by members of Team SCA from the Volvo Ocean Race. The aim of the programme is to accelerate female sailors to the top of sailing and is also being mentored by successful RORC sailor Deb Fish. Saoirse is hugely involved in the K25 programme having come through its ranks and acts as a link and mentor in conjunction with Brian Raftery who heads this initiative

ICRA Committee member, Denis Byrne has stepped in as ICRA Secretary.

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 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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