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Royal Cork's Denis Byrne Elected ICRA Commodore at AGM

10th February 2024
Denis Byrne of Crosshaven is multi-tasking in 2024 as Commodore of ICRA and Vice Admiral of the Royal Cork YC
Denis Byrne of Crosshaven is multi-tasking in 2024 as Commodore of ICRA and Vice Admiral of the Royal Cork YC Credit: Robert Bateman

Royal Cork Yacht Club's Denis Byrne has been elected Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association at today's national cruiser conference and AGM and will lead the national cruiser-racer body for the next two years.

Byrne takes over from Howth Yacht Club's Dave Cullen, who has held the post since March 2022.

As Afloat reported earlier, Byrne also serves as Vice-Admiral of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

Upon taking office, Byrne's first action was to commend his predecessor for skillfully steering the association away from COVID-related challenges. This resulted in a boost in IRC certificates issued to 332 boats in 2023.

At the Dun Laoghaire-hosted AGM, Byrne was elected along with a new 13-person executive committee that now includes John Minnis from Royal Ulster Yacht Club, representing Northern Ireland's Belfast Lough. It means ICRA is now represented on all four coasts of Ireland as well as on its inland waters.

ICRA Executive Committee 2024-5ICRA Executive Committee 2024-5

Also elected for the first time were Sam Hunt from Kinsale Yacht Club and Brian Jones from Royal Cork Yacht Club.

The new 2024 executive (pictured above) are: 

  • Dave Cullen (Howth YC)
  • John Leech (Lough Derg YC & Galway Bay SC)
  • Alice Shanahan (National YC)
  • Saoirse Reynolds (National YC)
  • Peter Ryan (National YC)
  • Liam Lynch (Tralee Bay SC)
  • Brian Raftery (Sligo YC)
  • Mark Mills (Wicklow SC)
  • Daragh Connolly (Royal Cork YC)
  • Sam Hunt (Kinsale YC)
  • Brian Jones (Royal Cork YC)
  • John Minnis (RUYC/RNIYC)
  • Denis Byrne (Royal Cork YC)

Byrne takes over the tiller when recruiting new sailors into the national fleet, including under-25 and female participation, is at the top of ICRA's agenda.

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)