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#ICRA2012 – Three Cork IRC victories, two titles retained and local success on ECHO and in the BMW Corinthian Cup were the outstanding features of the overall results of the BMW Cruiser Nationals run by Howth Yacht Club for the Irish Cruiser Racing Association, with the 7-race series finishing on Sunday in glorious sunshine but in tricky northerly breezes.

The event brought together 123 boats in one of the biggest fleets of the Irish sailing season with 80% of the fleet visitors to Howth. This year the event got a Government approval when Marine Minister Simon Coveney TD lent his support to the Cruiser National Championships when it opened last Friday.


Anitx and the view the other Class Zero competitors got. The Royal Cork Yacht retained her Irish IRC title

Royal Cork boats Antix and Tiger retained their Division 0 and 3 Irish titles respectively but in totally different ways. Anthony O'Leary's Antix was pushed so hard all the way by Richard Fildes' Impetuous that the Welsh Corby 37's double win on the last day set up the intriguing scenario of a tie after discards. With four wins to Fildes' three, O'Leary made it by the tightest of margins.


Welsh yacht Impetuous hoists on the tail of Jump Juice


Neil Kenefick's Tiger from Royal Cork sailing to success in Howth

The opposite was the case in Division 3 where the Keneficks' dominance on Tiger was underlined by two more wins on the third day to seal an emphatic victory by the biggest margin (9 points) of any fleet. The pre-event favourites saw off the early challenge of Tim Goodbody's White Mischief, although the Royal Irish boat had the consolation of winning the ECHO award from another RIYC boat Quest.


Dun Laoghaire's Sigma 33 White Mischief skippered by Tim Goodbody held an early lead in class three IRC and won overall on ECHO

In Division 0, Crazy Horse from Howth (Chambers/Reilly) took the ECHO honours, with four race wins enough to beat the National's Vincent Farrell in Tsunami by two points. Only two points separating the top three showed how competitive Division 1 was on IRC with another Royal Cork entry Jelly Baby (Nagle & O'Malley) emerging on top, with a final race win the difference in edging out Xtravagance (Colin Byrne) from RIYC while more success went to the Dun Laoghaire club with Rockabill V's (Paul O'Higgins) narrow on ECHO.


Colin Byrne's Xtravangance from Dublin Bay was at the top in Class One but was edged out by Cork yacht Jelly Baby (Ian Nagle and Paul O'Malley) below.


After the first day, it was pretty straightforward for Checkmate XV, Nigel Biggs' entry from the Royal St. George, and three more race wins was enough to finish with a 7.5 points gap over second-placed Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes of HYC). The performance was also sufficient to take the ECHO plaudits too, although the margin over Howth's Dave Cullen in King One was a little closer.

The only perfect scoreline in the Championships came in Division 4 where Team Toy Yot from Howth had a clean sweep on IRC while consistency earned Malahide visitor Goyave (Camier/Fitzpatrick) second overall, with the latter reversing the order on ECHO by virtue of one more race win.

Howth boats were very much to the fore in the non-spinnaker classes competing for the BMW Corinthian Cup, winning the A and B fleets on both handicap systems. On the Rox (C&J Boyle) wrapped up the A division with two wins to finish six points ahead of Bite the Bullet (Colm Bermingham) while they had five points to spare over Colm Buckley's Blue Eyes on ECHO.


Howth boat On the Rox won the Corinthian A fleet divison. More photos in the gallery below.

In the B fleet, Harry Byrne's Alphida (with Paddy Cronin on helm) stayed in the top four throughout and also recorded three wins to beat off the challenge of Joe Carton's Voyager on both handicaps. A second and a bullet on the last day brought Richard McAllister's Force Five into the top three frame on ECHO at the end.

At the prize-giving ceremony, Barry Rose, Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association complimented Howth YC on its handling of this major national event for a third time, and paid particular thanks to the organising committee, the three race officers and their teams of helpers and RIB drivers.

BMW Cruiser Nationals & Corinthian Cup 2012, Howth Yacht Club, Winners and (provisional) results after Day 3:

Division 0 IRC:

ANTIX, Anthony O'Leary

Division 0 ECHO:

CRAZY HORSE, Chambers/Reilly

Division 1 IRC:

.JELLY BABY, Ian Nagle & Paul O'Malley

Division 1 ECHO:

ROCKABILL V, Paul O'Higgins

Division 2 IRC:


Division 2 ECHO:


Division 3 IRC:

TIGER, Keneficks

Division 3 ECHO:

WHITE MISCHIEF, Timothy Goodbody

Division 4 IRC:


Division 4 ECHO:

GOYAVE, Camier/Fitzpatrick

Non-Spinnaker A IRC:

ON-THE-ROX (C & J Boyle)

Non-Spinnaker A ECHO:

ON-THE-ROX, C & J Boyle

Non-Spinnaker B IRC:


Non-Spinnaker B ECHO:


BMW Cruiser Nationals & Corinthian Cup 2012, Howth Yacht Club, Provisional results after Day 3:

Division 0 IRC: 1.ANTIX, Anthony O'Leary 2.IMPETUOUS, Richard Fildes 3.JUMP JUICE, Denise Phelan. Division 0 ECHO: 1.CRAZY HORSE, Chambers/Reilly 2.TSUNAMI, Vincent Farrell 3.LOOSE CHANGE, Mitton/Redden. Division 1 IRC: 1.JELLY BABY, Ian Nagle & Paul O'Malley 2.XTRAVAGANCE, Colin Byrne 3.ROCKABILL V, Paul O'Higgins. Division 1 ECHO: 1.ROCKABILL V, Paul O'Higgins 2.JELLY BABY, Ian Nagle & Paul O'Malley 3.XTRAVAGANCE, Colin Byrne. Division 2 IRC: 1.CHECKMATE XV, Nigel Biggs 2.DUX, Anthony Gore-Grimes 3.KING ONE, Dave Cullen. Division 2 ECHO: 1.CHECKMATE XV, Nigel Biggs 2.KING ONE, Dave Cullen 3.DUX, Anthony Gore-Grimes. Division 3 IRC: 1.TIGER, Kenefick's 2.WHITE MISCHIEF, Timothy Goodbody 3.HARD ON PORT, Flor O Driscoll. Division 3 ECHO: 1.WHITE MISCHIEF, Timothy Goodbody 2.QUEST, J Skernilt 3.HARD ON PORT, Flor O Driscoll. Division 4 IRC: 1.TOY YOT, Team Toy Yot 2.GOYAVE, Camier/Fitzpatrick 3.ASTERIX, Counihan/Bowhell/Meredith. Division 4 ECHO: 1.GOYAVE, Camier/Fitzpatrick 2.TOY YOT, Team Toy Yot 3.ASTERIX, Counihan/Bowhell/Meredith. Non-Spinnaker A IRC: 1.ON-THE-ROX, C & J Boyle 2.BITE THE BULLET, Colm Bermingham 3.CHANGELING, Kieran Jameson. Non-Spinnaker A ECHO: 1.ON-THE-ROX, C & J Boyle 2.BLUE EYES, Colm Buckley 3.PRETTY POLLY, Chris Horrigan. Non-Spinnaker B IRC: 1.ALPHIDA OF HOWTH, Harry Byrne 2.VOYAGER, Joe Carton 3.DEMELZA, W. Laudan / S. Ennis. Non-Spinnaker B ECHO: 1.ALPHIDA OF HOWTH, Harry Byrne 2.VOYAGER, Joe Carton 3.FORCE FIVE, R&J McAllister.

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#ICRA – The second day of action in the BMW Cruiser Nationals at Howth saw a repeat of the welcome sunshine but, in stark contrast to Friday, there was no shortage of wind, with strong easterlies and a big sea providing plenty of frenetic activity afloat on all three courses.

It was the turn of Divisions 2, 3 and 4 to compete on the windward-leeward courses set off Malahide and three back-to-back races tested the three fleets to the limit. In the most outstanding performance of the day, Nigel Biggs Checkmate XV from the Royal St.George dominated proceedings in Division 2, leading throughout on the water to record three bullets and open up a 5-point lead over nearest challenger, Anthony Gore-Grimes’ Dux of the home club, after five races. It was so impressive that they also lead on ECHO.

Two wins and a third was enough to see defending Division 3 champion Tiger (Keneficks, RCYC) jump ahead of Tim Goodbody’s White Mischief in the overall standings (although the latter heads the ECHO results to date) while winning the fifth race helped Flor O’Driscoll’s J/24 Hard on Port to close the gap and secure a comfortable 3rd on IRC (and 2nd on ECHO) overall.

In the small Division 4 fleet, it’s all one-way traffic for Team Toy Yot (HYC) which has notched four straight wins to lead second-placed Goyave (Camier/Fitzpatrick, Malahide YC) by a comfortable 7.5 points, although the margin is a little smaller on ECHO.

Over on the round-the-cans course, the bigger boats were also given three races. Notably, Anthony O’Leary’s Antix did not have everything its own way in Division 0, playing second fiddle to Welsh visitor Richard Fildes’ Impetuous on the day. The Corby 37 from South Caernarvonshire scored 1-1-2 while the Cork boat registered 2-3-1, a combination that sees the two boats tied on 8 points overall and everything to play for on Sunday.

It is very tight at the top of Division 1, with one point separating the top four boats and it was a good day for the Royal Irish YC contingent, filling three of those places overall after four races. Paul O’Higgins’ Rockabill V shares the lead with Jelly Baby (Nagle & O’Malley) although it was their clubmate Colin Byrne’s Xtravagance which made the biggest impression. A second followed by two wins brings them into serious contention, lying third equal with Pat Kelly’s Storm II, both one point adrift, so the title will be decided between the four on Sunday. Howard McMullen’s new acquisition Another Adventure heads the ECHO standings.

The two non-spinnaker classes both got two more races in and both continue to be dominated by Howth entries. In the A fleet, two top-three finishes by On-the-Rox (C&J Boyle) and Changeling (Kieran Jameson) sees them share the overall lead, with Changeling also heading the ECHO table. In the B fleet, Harry Byrne’s Alphida maintains the overall lead (on both handicaps) but a second and first by Joe Carton’s Voyager narrows the IRC gap to just two points.  

Overall situation after today's racing: BMW Cruiser Nationals & Corinthian Cup 2012, Howth Yacht Club, Provisional  results after Day2:Division 0 IRC: 1.ANTIX, Anthony O'Leary  2.IMPETUOUS, Richard Fildes 3.JUMP JUICE, Denise Phelan.Division 0 ECHO: 1.LOOSE CHANGE,  Mitton/Redden 2.LYNX CLIPPER, Martin Breen 3.TSUNAMI, Vincent Farrell.Division 1 IRC: 1.ROCKABILL V, Paul  O'Higgins 2.JELLY BABY, Ian Nagle & Paul O'Malley 3.XTRAVAGANCE, Colin  Byrne.Division 1 ECHO: 1.ANOTHER  ADVENTURE, Howard McMullen 2.JELLY BABY, Ian Nagle & Paul O'Malley  3.XTRAVAGANCE, Colin Byrne.Division 2  IRC: 1.CHECKMATE XV, Nigel Biggs 2.DUX, Anthony Gore-Grimes 3.KING ONE, Dave  Cullen.Division 2 ECHO: 1.CHECKMATE  XV, Nigel Biggs 2.KING ONE, Dave Cullen 3.DUX, Anthony Gore-Grimes.Division 3 IRC: 1.TIGER, Kenefick's 2.WHITE  MISCHIEF, Timothy Goodbody 3.HARD ON PORT, Flor O Driscoll.Division 3 ECHO: 1.WHITE MISCHIEF, Timothy  Goodbody 2.HARD ON PORT, Flor O Driscoll 3.SUPERNOVA,  Lawless/McCormack/Shannon.Division 4  IRC: 1.TOY YOT, Team Toy Yot 2.GOYAVE, Camier/Fitzpatrick 3.JULIA, Eddie  Kay.Division 4 ECHO: 1.TOY YOT, Team  Toy Yot 2.GOYAVE, Camier/Fitzpatrick 3.ASTERIX,  Counihan/Bowhell/Meredith.Non-Spinnaker A IRC: 1.ON-THE-ROX, C & J Boyle 2.CHANGELING,  Kieran Jameson 3.BITE THE BULLET, Colm Bermingham.Non-Spinnaker A ECHO: 1.CHANGELING, Kieran  Jameson 2.PRETTY POLLY, Chris Horrigan 3.LULA BELLE, Liam Coyne.Non-Spinnaker B IRC: 1.ALPHIDA OF HOWTH,  Harry Byrne 2.VOYAGER, Joe Carton 3.DEMELZA, W. Laudan / S. Ennis.Non-Spinnaker B ECHO: 1.ALPHIDA OF HOWTH,  Harry Byrne 2.VOYAGER, Joe Carton 3.SANDPIPER OF HOWTH, Andrew Knowles.

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#SAILING – With the Olympic torch burning its way through Ireland in ten days' time and the countdown to London 2012 well under way, the Irish squad for the sailing events in Weymouth has little enough time to adjust to its greatly increased size, with two new crews coming on board through last ditch qualifications.

The lonely selection voyage of Laser sailor James Espey of Ballyholme has finally reached a successful conclusion, and so too has the 470 campaign of Ger Owens of Dun Laoghaire and Scott Flanigan of Malahide. Malahide has always punched above its weight in the Olympic sailing stakes, and Flanigan carries the MYC flag along with Star class sailor David Burrows, while Ballyholme is also well in, as James Espey joins clubmates Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern, who are already on board as Ireland's 49er crew.

For the latest additions, the turnaround from battling for selection to training for representation means that, as ISA Team Manager James O'Callaghan has put it, "there's work to be done between now and Weymouth". But in fact O'Callaghan's remark was primarily prompted by the somewhat erratic showing by the already-qualified Annalise Murphy in the recent Women's Laser Radial Worlds in Germany.

The weather was the most erratic feature of all, yet when the breeze was good Murphy was on top form, taking two wins and two seconds in the 133-boat fleet. But she also had a major upset with a collision, and the final day saw her logging a 33rd and 55th to drop nine places to 25th in fleet, not the sort of placing she's been used to in recent years.

But with a smaller fleet and (so they tell us) steadier breezes anticipated at Weymouth, she's on track for a good showing, as too are the Star class duo of Peter O'Leary and David Burrows, who ended as fourth overall in the recent worlds, very much in the frame.

There'll be a special link to sailing when the Olympic torch arrives at Olympic Council of Ireland HQ in Howth on June 6th, as Howth House, the OCI base, is the former home of the Boyd family of sailing folk, where Herbert Boyd designed the still-extant Howth Seventeen class.

The youthful Boyd utilised the spacious floor of the drawing room (where else?) to finalise the lines of his boat designs, and it was there in 1897 that he created the Howth Seventeen One Designs, which still look today exactly as he envisaged them 115 years ago.

Only a year earlier, the revival of the Olympics in their modern form had been achieved by Pierre de Coubertin. It's doubtful if Boyd ever had Olympic ambitions for his rugged little boats. But they are truly Olympian in their dogged persistence allied to timeless style with 115 years of solid sport, so there's no better place for the Olympic torch in Ireland.

But that's in ten days' time. Right now Howth is jumping with the 127-strong fleet battling it out in the three-day BMW Cruiser-Racer Nationals, and skippers of the calibre of current Sailor of the Year George Kenefick of Crosshaven at the helm of his Quarter Tonner "Tiger of Currabinny" (now there's a name to conjure with) are revelling in glorious early-summer weather.

Out in the Atlantic, however, the chances of mid-ocean calms are slowing arrival time hopes for the Volvo fleet (back on full strength) racing from Miami to Lisbon, with Franck Cammas and Damian Foxall and team on Groupama losing their early lead to Iker Martinez on Telefonica. The Atlantic weather is all over the place, and nerves will be well frayed before they get to Portugal.

W M Nixon's sailing column is in the Irish Independent on Saturdays

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#ICRA2012 – Howth may have basked in glorious sunshine for the best part of the BMW ICRA Cruiser Nationals’ first day but lack of wind created enormous frustration among the record 123-boat entry as the Race Officers were obliged to delay racing until such time as completing even one race was a possibility. Full results below.

On the windward-leeward course, Division 0 did manage two races, with the honours in the first going to the defending champion Antix (Anthony O’Leary) of RCYC ahead of Richard Fildes’ Impetuous from South Caernarvonshire YC, winner of last week’s Corby Cup. The positions were reversed in the second race, so the two share the overall lead by four points over the next challenger going into the second day.

J109s filled three of the top four places in the only race sailed by Division 1, with Jelly Baby (Nagle & O’Malley) from the Royal Irish YC heading last year’s ICRA winner Storm (Pat Kelly) from Rush.

Divisions 2 and 3 had a two-hour wait to get going but it was worth it in the end, with a fresh north-easterly making for some frantic action. It also provided a rare enough occurrence when Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes) from Howth and Royal St. George YC visitor Nigel Biggs’ Checkmate XV recorded exactly the same corrected time and so share the lead in Division 2 after day one.

In Division 3, White Mischief, Tim Goodbody’s Sigma 33 from the Royal Irish YC lived up to pre-race speculation by leading the fleet home, ahead of 2011 champion Tiger (Keneficks) from Royal Cork and winning on handicap too, while Howth’s Vincent Gaffney will be satisfied with 3rd spot in his new boat Alliance II. First of the seven J/24s participating was Stouche (Darrer & Murphy).

The smallest fleet in the championships is Division 4 with just six boats and its one race ended in a Howth one-two, with Toy Yot (Team Toy Yot) heading Eddie Kay’s Contessa 26 Julia, with Dun Laoghaire visitor Asterix (Counihan et al) in third.

The Non-Spinnaker Classes were also afflicted by lack of wind but when they did get away, it was a Welsh visitor, John Collins’ Jet Stream from Pwllheli which took A Fleet honours from three local boats led by Colm Bermingham’s Bite the Bullet. In Fleet B, the smallest boat in the white sails divisions, the Club Shamrock Demelza (Laudan/Ennis) showed size isn’t everything, taking first place from Harry Byrne’s Alphida.

BMW Cruiser Nationals & Corinthian Cup 2012, Howth Yacht Club, Provisional results after Day  1:  Division 0 IRC: 1.ANTIX, Anthony O'Leary 2.IMPETUOUS, Richard Fildes 3.ELF TOO, Christine Murray.  Division 0 ECHO: 1.ANTIX, Anthony O'Leary 2.IMPETUOUS, Richard Fildes 3.LYNX CLIPPER, Martin Breen.  Division 1 IRC: 1.JELLY BABY, Ian Nagle & Paul O'Malley 2.STORM II, Pat Kelly 3.ROCKABILL V, Paul O'Higgins.  Division 1 ECHO: 1.JELLY BABY, Ian Nagle & Paul O'Malley 2.ROCKABILL V, Paul O'Higgins 3.STORM II, Pat Kelly.  Division 2 IRC: 1.CHECKMATE XV, Nigel Biggs 2.DUX, Anthony Gore-Grimes 3.SLACK ALICE, S Statham & T OLeary.  Division 2 ECHO: 1.CHECKMATE XV, Nigel Biggs 2.DUX, Anthony Gore-Grimes 3.SLACK ALICE, S Statham & T OLeary.  Division 3 IRC: 1.WHITE MISCHIEF, Timothy Goodbody 2.TIGER, Kenefick's 3.ALLIANCE II, Vincent Gaffney.  Division 3 ECHO: 1.WHITE MISCHIEF, Timothy Goodbody 2.TIGER, Kenefick's 3.SUPERNOVA, Lawless/McCormack/Shannon.  Division 4 IRC: 1.TOY YOT, Team Toy Yot 2.JULIA, Eddie Kay 3.ASTERIX, Counihan/Bowhell/Meredith.  Division 4 ECHO: 1.TOY YOT, Team Toy Yot 2.JULIA, Eddie Kay 3.ASTERIX, Counihan/Bowhell/Meredith.  Non-Spinnaker A IRC: 1.ON-THE-ROX, C & J Boyle 2.JET STREAM, John Collins 3.BITE THE BULLET, Colm Bermingham.  Non-Spinnaker A ECHO: 1.ON-THE-ROX, C & J Boyle 2.CHANGELING, Kieran Jameson 3.BITE THE BULLET, Colm Bermingham.  Non-Spinnaker B IRC: 1.ALPHIDA OF HOWTH, Harry Byrne 2.VOYAGER, Joe Carton 3.DEMELZA, W. Laudan / S. Ennis.  Non-Spinnaker B ECHO: 1.Lolly Folly, Colman and Lesley Phelan 2.ALPHIDA OF HOWTH, Harry Byrne 3.VOYAGER, Joe Carton.

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#ICRA – A record entry of 123 boats racing in 7 sailing divisions will compete for honours at this weekend's BMW Cruiser Nationals being hosted by Howth Yacht Club on behalf of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA).

Seven races over three days – a mixture of round-the-cans and windward-leewards - will be provided on three separate courses, with Class 0 and 1 together, Class 2, 3 and 4 on another, and two divisions of non-spinnaker cruisers racing for the Corinthian Cup.

Last year's championship winners in the first four divisions will all be in Howth to defend their titles. Anthony O'Leary's Antix from Cork will again be among the favourites in Class 0 although he can expect strong challenges from Jump Juice (Denise Phelan) and George Sisk's WOW, while Richard Fildes Impetuous from Wales had a useful warm-up on the race track in winning last weekend's Corby Cup.

Pat Kelly's Storm (HYC & Rush) won Class 1 in Cork last year and there are six other J109s in the line-up to keep them on their toes. Six of the 21 entries are from outside Dublin.

In Class 2, Brian Goggin's Corby 25 Allure from Kinsale was the winner a year ago and will be expected to be a front-runner in the biggest fleet (31 boats) in the Championships, the majority of which are visitors. Of the local entries, Dave Cullen's King One, Ian Byrne's Sunburn and Anthony Gore-Grimes Dux are contenders.

The modified quarter-tonner Tiger (Neil Kenefick) from Cork is undoubtedly the boat to beat in Class 3, having been the outstanding boat in this division over the past couple of years. Half a dozen J24s will have to be at their very best to compete against this very fast, well sailed boat, while in Class 4, Goyave (Camier/Fitzpatrick) from Malahide and Basil MacMahon's Holly of the host club will be fancied.

The Corinthian Cup entries have been split into two divisions, with local boats Changeling (Kieran Jameson) and Bite the Bullet (Colm Bermingham) among those fancied in division 5 and Harry Byrne's Alphida and Demelza (Laudan & Ennis) serious contenders in division 6.

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#COMMODORE'S CUP – The Irish Cruiser Racing Assocation (ICRA) has issued a final plea to any skippers interested in defending the Commodore's Cup Ireland, first won in 2010, to come forward amid speculation that Ireland's hopes of mounting the defence are now unlikely.

With less than three months remaining before the event, puttng together three crews (nearly 50 sailors) plus shore and team support would be extremely late but ICRA is still interested in pulling a rabbit out of the hat even with a view to building early support for a 2014 campaign for Cowes. 

The Commodores Cup takes place from 21st to 28th July.

As far back as last October ICRA was still confident it would be able to mount a successful defence given it had taken the team four attempts to win the prestigious cup, the world championships of the cruiser racer fleet.

It is likely the 2010-winning team captain Anthony O'Leary would again be competing with his Ker 39 Antix from the Royal Cork Yacht Club. In October O'Leary told Afloat: 'We finally won this great event in 2010 with a well organised campaign, let's hope we can return to defend it in 2012 learning further from that experience'.

Given the limited time remaining the association has now issued its final call for potential candidates not already in discussions with ICRA to get in touch to discuss their plans for the forthcoming event. ICRA stresses it welcomes discussions with all interested potential Irish team and team members, including those representing regional, youth, or other interests.

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#ICRA – Over 50 boats have aready entered the ICRA Nationals in Howth and another 50 are expected but the offer of a reduced entry feef from €175 to €125 for the BMW sponsored event expires this weekend.The offer includes marina berthage and three days of racing to decide the 2012 Cruiser National Champions in all Classes in both IRC and Echo handicap systems.

Running alongside the Nationals will be a non spinnaker event capturing the spirit of this style of sailing the Corinthian Cup with 2 magnificent trophies on offer.

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#CRUISER RACER –-Buoyed up by some early successes abroad Irish cruiser racer fans are in for a treat at home now with Howth Yacht Club staging three cruiser events before the end of May giving a major kick-start to the Irish IRC sailing season. This weekend the Club's Spring Warmer series starts with racing for Cruiser Classes One, Two and Three who line up with one design classes for a weekend series over three weeks. Next up is the Corby Cup on 12th May followed by the ICRA Nationals on May 25th.

Irish boats from Royal Cork YC, Howth YC and Royal Irish YC, Dun Laoghaire have already finished second third and fourth in class respectively at the RORC Easter challenge and further afield the white sail Oyster 56 Lady A skippered by Stephen Hyde has been in the mix in the British Virgin Islands.

As with many events this season entries are admittedly slow at arriving but Howth's innovative Corby Cup weekend expects around 30 boats. Hot favourites in the small section are Brian Goggin's Allure from Kinsale and Will Partington's Will2Win from Wales is also confirmed.

Howth also have a number of 25s and 26s coming from Cork, Dun Laoghaire, Galway, Howth and Sligo.

Some of the bigger boats have yet to sign up but HYC says Roxy, Impetuous, and Independent Bear will all be competing together with a number of 29s.

Early bird entry for the National Championships for Cruiser Classes closes on April 14th so boat-owners and crews who want to compete for national honours have four weeks to avail of the lower entry fee of €125, a saving of €50.

Howth Yacht Club is hosting the event for the Irish Cruiser Racing Association for the third time and this year is supported with sponsorship from BMW. The event is one of the major fixtures on the 2012 sailing calendar and runs from Friday May 25th to Sunday May 27th.

Racing for Cruiser Classes 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 will be over a mixture of round-the-cans and windward-leeward courses in a seven race series. Non-spinnaker boats will compete in six races for ICRA's Corinthian Cup.

A comprehensive entertainments programme has been put in place to ensure competitors have three enjoyable days, on and off the water.

An 'Early Bird' discounted entry rate can be found on

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While the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) are reporting a near record turn-out for the British trials for July's Commodores' Cup there is still no update on an Irish team to defend the title it won in 2010.

The RORC more open rating bands for the 2012 Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup are having the desired effect: As the deadline closed for teams wishing to enter the British trials for this July's Cowes-based event, so 17 boats had registered - a near record compared to past trials.

Although Ireland is officially slated by the Royal Ocean Racing Club to be defending its 2010 title won on the Solent there is still no details of the compostion of an Irish team for July's Commdore's Cup.

Ireland face an uphill struggle to mount a credible defence, though Antony O'Leary's Antix is most likely to be a key part of any team, which is a major asset, there is still the job of completing the three boat line-up. A call to interested parties was made late last year by the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA).

ICRA Commodore Barry Rose says that despite the current difficult environment ICRA remains hopeful of mounting a serious defence and have waited until last October to allow the maximum time to those who may consider supporting the challenge but since then there has been no further news of the team.

In addition to his important role as Chairman of the Royal Yachting Association, Stacey Clark is also Chairman of the Selectors for the British Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup team, a panel he sits on with professional sailor, Chris Mason, now Yachting Secretary of the Royal Yacht Squadron, and Cowes Week CEO, Stuart Quarrie.

Clark himself has been helmsman on the various Cutting Edge campaigns, including most recently a Farr 45 and a TP52. "I think given the world the way it is at the moment, we are pretty pleased," he says of the turn-out. "We have a healthy number of trialists and we are optimistic about being able to put forward very strong teams."

While 17 boats are entered in the trials, still unresolved is the number that will make it through, as the GBR selectors have yet to decide whether they will enter three or four teams (each comprising three boats). Clark says that originally the fourth had been allocated to go to a team from the north of England/Scotland, but this hasn't materialised. "We have the option to go to four teams, but we have decided that we'd like to see the trials before deciding whether to enter three or four. We want to enter teams that will do credit to the GBR name in this regatta, as well as look to build for the future."

This year the selection is focussing on the performance of the 17 boats at two events: the RORC's Morgan Cup offshore starting on 5th May and the Royal Corinthian YC's Vice-Admiral's Cup inshore series over 18-20th May. The latter will feature a 'Commodores' Cup class'. "With the wide rating band, these boats don't usually race each other on the same start line, on the same course, at the same time," explains Clark.

As to why so many boats have entered the trials in these austere times, one reason is certainly the RORC's amendment to the rating bands. For this year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup there is effectively one large rating band, with eligible boats required to have an IRC time correction co-efficient (TCC) of 1.020-1.230. Among each three boat team only one can be a 'big boat' (ie with a TCC of 1.150-1.230), so a team could field a team with no 'big boat'.

Clark believes this has opened up the competition, making it more even across all of the trialists. "Last time around there was strong competition for some of the smaller boat slots, but it was hard to find the right big boat," he says.

As present the British contenders include three Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup 'big boats' - the two Ker 40s, Jonathan Goring's Keronimo and Andrew Pearce's Magnum III, and Ian Blair's King 40, Cobra.

Several others are repeat customers from the 2010 British team. Former Commodore of the RORC, Andrew McIrvine is back with his First 40, La Réponse, while his co-2010 co-skipper Peter Morton has entered his own recently acquired Corby 33, Salvo. Steven and Jane Anderson are back, but on a different boat having bought the well known Corby 40, Cracklin Rosie, which Brian Wilkinson campaigned two years ago.

For Andrew Pearce this will be his third Commodores' Cup having previously competed in 2004 and 2008. This year he is greatly looking forward to campaigning his new Ker 40, one of three likely to be taking part, including Keronimo and another in the Hong Kong team.

"These boats are so unbelievably well matched," says Pearce, whose new Magnum III was delivered just before Christmas, replacing his previous IMX40. "We've been racing against Keronimo and they are just so even out on the water - it's very exciting racing. And the boat is awesome. Even in 10 knots, you get the kite up and get the boat well heeled, and you are doing 8-9 knots. Already we've had the boat doing 18 knots in flat water and we are going to get over 20 knots."

As to the trials this year, Pearce says it will be interesting because with the new rating band, the selectors have a more open hand. "When we have done it in previous times, generally we have been in what has been colloquially called 'the heavy weather team'. The IMX 40 I took down the non-overlapping route, so we were set up for stronger winds - 15 knots and above we were unbeatable, a real bandit, but below that it was a bit tricky. Now they can't end up with three Ker 40s, because there is a limit to the boats above 1.150, but they could end up with a team of three J/109s, if they felt that type of boat might have a niche in the weather patterns where they are going to excel. So it is a very different set-up this time around."

Like the selectors in previous years, Stacey Clark won't elaborate on how they will divide up the teams this time.

As to the competition in this year's Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup, Pearce concludes: "They have got the right level. I think it is going to be a brilliant Commodores' Cup. There has been a good level of interest from abroad, so I think it will be a very successful regatta.

Published in ICRA
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Page 30 of 39

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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