Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Displaying items by tag: Cape 31

The camera does not lie, they say, but it depends on how you hold it and angle it, and which lens you use. If you see the Mark Mills-designed Cape 31 sailing, you'll reckon she's a reasonably beamy and sensible boat.

But the first to arrive in Ireland got here a day or two ago and - from one photo angle at any rate - she looks so skinny and so deep that for some harbours, draught requirement might be a problem. We'll see.

As for the Pinnochio nose, that's brought on by owners trying to tell their wives how little this stark day-sailing boat cost...

Published in Cape 31
Tagged under

With at least four Mark Mills-designed Cape 31s making their Irish class debut at the Wave Regatta in Howth from June 3rd to 5th, we will see one very important wheel come full circle. For it was a 31ft Mark Mills design making her debut at Howth in 1996 that launched the tyro designer on a stellar career which today sees him established as an internationally-recognised and much-awarded race-winning innovator. But he still finds the best space to think and create in Ireland, as he has moved his productive design studio even deeper into the peaceful rural depths of the lush Wicklow countryside, where he and his team come forward with frontline designs of all sizes up to super-maxis, designs that win at the top level for racing and style in five continents.

Yet twenty-six years ago, it was quite something - a real leap in the dark - to be the first owner to appreciate this nascent talent. That personal distinction falls to Peter Beamish of Dun Laoghaire, who in 1995 placed the order for a completely new 31ft Mills-designed offshore racer to the then-dominant CHS rule. Peter Beamish was to show an exceptional talent for spotting potential, for in the 21st Century he has been one of the quietly effective supporters of Ronan O Siochru and his sailing school, the remarkably successful Irish Offshore Sailing in Dun Laoghaire. But back in late 1995, it was a Fingal-based boat-building partnership, Mizzen Marine, which he commissioned to build the new boat.

Aztec on her maiden sail at Howth, May 1996. Photo: WM NixonAztec on her maiden sail at Howth, May 1996. Photo: WM Nixon 

Cape 31 in full cry – raceboat design has moved on, but there’s no doubting the family link to Aztec. Photo Rick TomlinsonCape 31 in full cry – raceboat design has moved on, but there’s no doubting the family link to Aztec. Photo Rick Tomlinson

The two main movers in Mizzen Marine were David Harte – now of Fastnet Marine & Outdoor Centre in Schull – and Garrett Connolly, an Olympic crew in the Soling. They drew on the talents of Darragh Peelo and Robin Evans as coal-face workers in this intriguing project, with further input from the multi-talented Johnny Smullen, who subsequently became California-based and the personal boat-builder to America’s Cup legend Dennis Conner.

So in all, with ideas being bounced between designer, builders and owner, it was something of a magic circle that created the boat that was initially known as Aztec, and is now known as Raptor in Dun Laoghaire, where she’s owned and sailed by the FOFC, otherwise known as the Friends of Fintan Cairns.

As Aztec in May 1996, she was a star from the start, winning her first inshore race by a clear 3.5 minutes, and making her big time debut in the Lambay Race before going on to sweep Dublin Bay and the Solent. So with the Lambay Race continuing at the heart of the Wave Regatta (it’s on Saturday June 6th), the appearance of the Cape 31s (and let’s hope Raptor as well) will mark a very special stage in the Mark Mills design career.

Aztec makes her debut – she may have been the first of the line, but she was a thoroughbred from the startAztec makes her debut – she may have been the first of the line, but she was a thoroughbred from the start

History in the making. And Aztec fulfilled all her promised, winning her first race - a short inshore – by 3.5 minutes. Photo: W M. NixonHistory in the making. And Aztec fulfilled all her promised, winning her first race - a short inshore – by 3.5 minutes. Photo: W M. Nixon

And it will show how our concepts about boat purposes have moved on too. Aztec aspired to be a proper offshore racer, with overnight capabilities. But the Cape 31s make no such promises -they’re pure day-sailing sportsboats, and indeed at the moment they’re even exploring the possibilities of a foiling version. Yet the fact that they reflect Aztec’s overall length rings a bell, and there’s no doubting a distant but distinct family relationship in their appearance.

With the post-pandemic rising profile of the Wright Group-sponsored Wave Regatta becoming evident, June 2022 is confirming predictions of being an exceptionally busy month for the offshore brigade. But there’s much more to Wave than Cruiser-Racer competition, and while as already reported in Afloat.ie there has been a remarkable uptake in entries for Classes 0 and 1, with three race areas available. And a user-friendly pick’n’choose programme means there’s every option available from the opportunity to enjoy three days of intense competition to the more traditional choice of simply doing the Lambay Race, which was first sailed in 1904, and continues as a special way of celebrating the existence of a very handsome and unspoilt island only 22 kilometres from Dublin city centre.

Lambay – the perfect unspoilt island, yet it is only 22 kilometres frOm the heart of Dublin city.Lambay – the perfect unspoilt island, yet it is only 22 kilometres frOm the heart of Dublin city.

Howth’s long tradition of One-Design keelboat racing will be much in evidence, for in addition to the locally-rooted Howth 17s of 1898-vintage and the Puppeteer 22s dating from 1978, the Squibs are undergoing one of their number surges in anticipation of the big championship in Kinsale at the end of June, while at the other end of the scale, the Sigma 33s are indicating growing strength, with the Howth-based Insider (Stephen Mullaney and Ian Martin) the current Irish champion.

Post-finish celebration aboard the Irish Champion Sigma 33 Insider after another race win. Photo: Conor LindsayPost-finish celebration aboard the Irish Champion Sigma 33 Insider after another race win. Photo: Conor Lindsay

The peninsular harbour also has a small but potent J/109 flotllla sailing from its marina, including Irish class champion Storm (Pat Kelly, Rush SC) , and they will be on their mettle, as J/109 star Mojito from Pwllheli (Vicky Cox & Peter Dunlop) is already into the mix, and now the class have made Wave a designated event for their Eastern Championship.

The Howth-based J/109s Outrajeous (Richard Colwell) and Storm (Pat Kelly) racing off the Fingal coast. The J/109s have designated the Wave Regatta as their Eastern Championship.The Howth-based J/109s Outrajeous (Richard Colwell) and Storm (Pat Kelly) racing off the Fingal coast. The J/109s have designated the Wave Regatta as their Eastern Championship.

HYC’s own club-owned fleet of J/80s made their impressive 2022 debut with the Irish Universities Keelboat Championship in the last weekend of March (when the weather was much more spring-like than it has been since), and that successful series of 18 sunlit races has inspired college crews to put down their names for charter of J/80s for more of the same.

The HYC fiotilla of J/80s making the best of bright March sunshine during the recent Irish Universities Keelboat Championship. Photo: Annraoi BlaneyThe HYC fiotilla of J/80s making the best of bright March sunshine during the recent Irish Universities Keelboat Championship. Photo: Annraoi Blaney

With normal club racing on the East Coast in full swing before the end of April (DBSC Opening is today week), there’s no doubt that it will take time for the full buzz to manifest itself again, but in Howth there’s an impressive harbour/community effort underway to ensure that Wave is an effective launching pad for the national and international programme, with Howth Harbour Master Captain Harry McLoughlin pulling out all the stops to optimise the port’s potential, while the Michael J Wright Group are joined as sponsors by Fingal County Council, Euro Car Parks, WD 40, Cassidy Travel and CKS Finance.

As for the weather, that’s in the lap of the Gods. But for anyone immersed in the culture and lore of Irish sailing, the prospect of the ancient Howth 17s racing round Lambay as they have done for 118 years in tandem with the presence of the very modern reminders of Mark Mills’ first boat in the same place is profoundly moving.

The Howth 17s Aura and Pauline racing round Lambay - as they have been doing for 118 years. Photo: John DeanThe Howth 17s Aura and Pauline racing round Lambay - as they have been doing for 118 years. Photo: John Dean

Published in W M Nixon

The bright blue Cape 31 Arabella of Ireland's Niall and Olivia Dowling won CSA-2 in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta in the Caribbean in March. 

The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Dowling who owns the boat with his wife Olivia enthused about his new Cape 31 when talking to the boat's designer, Mark Mills of County Wicklow.

“It was absolutely beautiful today, fantastic sailing through all those islands with spinnakers up,” Dowling commented. “it was great fun. It’s going to be a great class and hopefully, we’ll get a few more to follow us out here next year!”

The win under CSA Handicap marks the third rating rule under which the Cape has won a major event, after its well-publicised successes under IRC and ORC.

Niall and Olivia Dowling's Cape 31, ArabellaNiall and Olivia Dowling's Cape 31, Arabella

Arabella, Hull #24, has had a busy schedule since she was completed in Cape Town a few months ago.

It's not Dowling's first yacht to be christened Arabella either, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour helmsman previously owned a J111 of the same name in which he sailed to RORC success in 2011.

Dowling, who is based in the UK, is a frequent visitor to home waters in both inshore and offshore disciplines. As regular Afloat readers know, he took both Line Honours and the Overall Win in Wicklow’s Volvo Round Ireland Race 2018 with the Ker 43 Baraka GP. Both Niall and Olivia are also leading lights in the UK's Quarter Ton scene.

Shipped to the UK for preparation and then sent straight to the Caribbean for her first outing where she got a 2nd in St Maarten, she will soon be back in the UK for the Cape 31 Season in the UK, with over 20 boats signed up for an epic summer schedule involving teams from the U.K., Ireland, and the U.S.

As Afloat reported previously, four Cape 31s are currently en route to Ireland in time for the summer sailing season in Dun Laoghaire, Howth and Cork Harbour.

Published in Cape 31
Tagged under

It looks like the four brand new Irish Cape 31s will be landing on Irish shores pretty soon if the latest photos posted to social media are anything to go by.

This weekend's photos from the Facebook account of Cape 31, a race boat sales and management company, reveals metallic green, blue and red hulls being prepared for transport from the builders in Capetown in South Africa.

Depending on the schedule, the sportsboats are likely to debut at Wave Regatta at Howth in June or Cork Week in July. 

Irish Cape 31s are in transit to Ireland from CapetownIrish Cape 31s are in transit to Ireland from Capetown

Green-hulled Cape 31 Valkyrie will be based at Howth YC, Blast at the Royal Irish YC and Antix (we're guessing she's the red hull if previous Antix race boats are a clue) will be based at Royal Cork YC.

Published in Cape 31
Tagged under

It looks like the modern Cape 31 just got faster! The latest vids from South Africa show the new speedster fitted with foils and steamin'...

Wicklow designer Mark Mills always said his new marque was designed 'without compromise', so it seems with this latest flying iteration...

The 40-second video (below) shows the boat rising onto its prototype foils in strong winds and the vid at the bottom of the page shows the wet ride from the cockpit.

The videos surfaced at Saturday's ICRA conference in Dun Laoghaire, where the air-borne craft got a draw-dropping reaction.

Coincidentally, the National Yacht Club meeting discussed the arrival of four Cape 31s for this season's Irish regatta circuit debuting at June's Wave Regatta in Howth and slated for a class start in July's Cork Week Regatta too.

The only question now is will the Irish debutantes be foilers too? 

Published in Cape 31
Tagged under

Wave Regatta will return to Howth on June 3-5 this year with a determination to inspire the returning tide of major event sailing in Ireland following two years of pandemic and embracing the inevitable pent-up demand.

Last run in 2018, the timing of this three-day biennial keelboat regatta seems to present racing sailors with an ideal opportunity to return to celebrate the return of major event sailing and long-awaited entertainment.

Built around Howth’s historical Lambay Race, which was first run in 1904, Wave Regatta comprises of three full days of racing with the additional option of Saturday only (Lambay Race) participation for all keelboat classes. The anticipated arrival and inclusion of the new Mills designed ’Cape 31s’ will draw a lot of national and international attention to the event and will be the first opportunity for many to see these Grand Prix racing boats in action.

Best described as a ‘serious racing event wrapped inside a big party’, Wave Regatta is an unmissable experience for sailors as well as for the many visitors that come to Howth for the bank holiday weekend.

Friday’s first gun from Howth Yacht Club’s flagship on June 3rd will not only prepare Ireland’s yacht racing community for 3 days of top quality competition on Fingal’s ideal sailing waters, but it will also confirm the long-awaited return of a weekend full of big regatta hospitality onshore.

Wave Regatta Director Brian TurveyWave Regatta Director Brian Turvey

Full details of Wave Regatta including online entry (with early discount) and the entertainment schedule is available here

One-design keelboat classes that might wish to utilise the opportunity of joining the event should contact the Wave Regatta organising team via the link above.

Published in Wave Regatta

The Mark Mills-designed Cape 31s have been stretching their limbs and muscles at the Royal Cape Yacht Cub in South Africa for long enough now to attract much interest elsewhere, and by next year they’ll be coming to a club near you in Ireland to raise the pace in the local programme.

We can’t promise the weather, but the performance is guaranteed…

Published in Cape 31
Tagged under

The Royal Cork Yacht Club has confirmed that two Irish Cape 31s which are currently in build, one from Cork and one from Dublin, have now entered Volvo Cork Week 2022.

The entry form and advance notice of regatta are live on the RCYC website.

It’s expected that the Irish fleet will have grown to four of five boats by next July when the Cork Week regatta returns for a delayed Cork300 celebration after its pandemic-enforced absence in 2020.

And it’s also hoped that they will be bolstered by visiing Cape 31s from the UK for five days of championship racing in the waters surrounding Cork Harbour.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie back in August, plans are afoot to build a sportsboat fleet here from the South African racer-inspired design by Wicklow-based Mark Mills.

Published in Cork Week

October had a sting its tail and the only real breeze of the month knocked over some of the fleet of Cape 31s in the Hamble, on the UK south coast.

The fledgeling carbon fleet – that stole the show at this summer's Cowes Week – literally all fell over and were found leaning up against another thoroughbred racing machine, the Fast 40, Ran.

One of the reasons the boat, designed by Mark Mill of County Wicklow, is proving so attractive is its competitive one-design nature and its ultra light weight.

The four (or is it now five?) Irish buyers of the new One Design will be taking note that any dry sailing arrangement probably needs to include hard standing tie-downs.

Published in Cape 31
Tagged under

With the news that up to four of the new Cape 31 one designs are heading for Irish waters in 2022, there are now reports that Dun Laoghaire is joining Howth and Cork Harbour in the Cape race, with the latest news that at least one of the 31-footers is due in Ireland's biggest boating centre next season.

As Afloat reported earlier, Irish sportsboat exponents here have ordered up to five Cape 31 One Designs for next season, with echoes of what happened almost 30 years ago when a smaller -and still thriving - 1720 sports boat was born in Cork Harbour.

It is understood the new boat will arrive in Dun Laoghaire in late Spring 2022. 

Of course, there is additional interest in that the newest one-design keelboat class here will be another Irish design.

The new Cape 31 was designed by Wicklow based Mark Mills as a simple, clean, high-performance One Design, and it's been turning heads at some of the world's biggest sailing centres.

Last month, Cork sailmaker Barry Hayes took his first tack in a Cape 31 on the Solent and reported for Afloat here

Published in Cape 31
Tagged under
Page 5 of 6

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)