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Following a light–air Cruisers Three East Coast Championships DBSC feeder race from Dun Laoghaire to Greystones on Saturday, the second two races of the 2017 Championship were held on Sunday in 20–knots of wind as part of the Greystones Harbour Regatta

1st Quest (Barry Cunningham)
2nd Cartoon (Ken Lawless and Syb McCormack)
3rd Hard on Port (Flor O'Driscoll)

1st Quest (Barry Cunningham)
2nd Cartoon (Ken Lawless and Syb McCormack)
3rd Running Wild (Brendan Foley)

Winner of the team prize and Rianoir Trophy: Quest, Cartoon and Enigma from the Royal Irish Yacht Club


Published in ICRA

With light winds forecast for the final day, the fleet left the event pontoons to the two racing areas in glorious sunshine, a relief to shed the wet weather gear! IRC 1 and 2 sailed two windward/leeward races off shore from a committee boat start, where the breeze held steady from the south–east at 4–7 kts enabling some steady racing. "Fools Gold" and "Dark Angel" each won a race in IRC 1 giving the overall first for the championship to "Fools Gold" adding another title to their successful campaign this season following a win at June's Sovereign's Cup in Kinsale.

In IRC 2 "Checkmate" and "Injenious" each won a race today with the IRC 2 overall championship won by "Legless Again" who sailed consistently all weekend. "Luvly Jubbly" won all three races in IRC 3 sports boat class and the overall win, in a class which we hope to build for next year, racing around the club marks off the club line.

IRC 4 Cruiser class was won today by "Paraiba" with overall championship in this class by Roger Fitzgerald in His Delher 29 Ella Trout III.

Prize-giving followed racing, and crews enjoyed a carvery dinner after Plas Heli and Championship Chairman Stephen Tudor thanked the Royal Dee team for their race management of IRC 1 and 2 and Robin Evans for IRC 3 and 4

Full results and photographs here 

Next year's provisional dates for the IRC Welsh Championships are: 17-19th August

Published in ICRA
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Next week's Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta has 88 IRC entries so far, of which 18 have yet to provide rating certs. Of the remainder, figuring out the handicap breaks to make up five good IRC classes is no easy task. sticks its neck out to give a best guess on the breaks, numbers and top performers at Ireland's biggest regatta.

A big problem in setting the rating breaks is the lack of larger Class Zero boats and the very large number of Class One boats. 

So far there are only five large yachts, rating around 1.100 and higher. Many of the normal class zero yachts seem, for whatever reason (maybe not enough crew, feel they can’t compete in Class Zero or prefer to do longer races), have opted for the Coastal Division. This includes the likes of Wow, Lively Lady, Aurelia, Aqualina. Therefore VDLR organisers will likely need to extend Class Zero to include yachts right down to 1.039 to get the entry numbers in Class Zero up to say, nine. The low number turnout of traditional sized Class Zero boats at this regatta is nothing new, it continues from the very low turnouts of Class Zero boats also at the ICRA Championships (two competed) and the Sovereign's Cup (four competed). As previously mentioned on, Class Zero in Dublin Bay – and elsewhere – is continuing to dwindle and providing separate class racing for such low numbers is hard for regatta organisers to justify. 

The very high number of Class One yachts, including 13 x J109’s will make up a 24–boat fleet from a rating of 1.035 to 1.000.

Splitting Classes Two, Three and Four appear more straight forward, with natural breaks occurring and giving decent numbers in each class.

So here is's guess on the breaks, numbers and top performers. Bear in mind, the 18 boats with no ratings yet may well change these figures.

Jump juice DLRoyal Cork's Ker 39 Jump Juice (Conor Phelan) Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 0 (rating 1.036 and above—9 entries) Eala of Rhu, a very well sailed Swan 45 from Scotland, won her class at Scottish series, and will be very competitive in this class where she will be out ahead and be able to sail her own race. Behind her are three very similar good boats (Dark Angel, Jump Juice and Aurora (ex Blondie). Dark Angel has had the better of Jump Juice in her last three Regattas and this will likely continue. Aurora will likely be competitive also. Paul O'Higgins Rockabill VI, recent winner of the Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race, if there are strong conditions, will be well to the fore, but in a mixed regatta, expect Eala of Rhu to take it from Dark Angel.

Sovereigns cup ds 1751J109 Joker II (John Maybury) – a triple ICRA winner and Tim Goodbody's White Mischief sistership below Photos: Bob Bateman


Class 1 (rating 1.035 to 1.000 – 24 entries) This is likely where the best racing will be in the IRC divisions. 13 J 109’s including the three times ICRA National Champion, John Maybury's Joker II. It will be interesting to see how Andrew Algeos Juggerknot and Andrew Craig's Chimera fare against her. Tim Goodbody's White Mischief will also be in the mix. Other notable Dublin entries are Colin Byrne's Bon Exemple and Anthony Fox’s Archambault 35, Gringo. There are a numer of Good Scottish boats of this size and one to watch out for would be Kevin Aitken's Animal which was very competitive in this years Scottish Series. Of course, if Olympian Mark Mansfield is aboard Joker II as tactician, expect it to take it with at least one other J109 on the podium.

Sovereigns cup df 2087Ross McDonald's ICRA Class Two Champion Equinox, an X332 from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 2 (rating .999 to .959 – 11 entries) This is likely to be a straight shootout between Ross McDonald's X332 Equinox who just won the 2017 ICRA Nationals in Cork and Stephen Quinn's J/97 Lambay Rules which recently won their class at the Scottish Series. If conditions are lighter, we would put our money on Lambay Rules, while if there is breeze, Equinox will be hard to beat. With the present long range forecast of mixed conditions we will just edge it to Lambay Rules.

Sovereigns cup df 2087Dave Cullen's Checkmate, a Half–Tonner from Howth Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 3 (rating .958 to .922 – 10 entries) Likely to be a battle of the Half Tonners, David Cullen's Checkmate V, Johnny Swan’s Harmony, and from Scotland, Roddy Angus’s Trastada. Trastada faired very well at Scottish Series, finishing ahead of Harmony before eventually being beaten by Lambay Rules. If the breeze is strong, expect the X302’s (Maximus, Dux and Xebec) to be to the front but in a mixed wind event we will put our money on Trastada to take it from Checkmate by a nose.

Sovereigns cup df 2087The Quarter Tonner Cartoon (Ken Lawless) Photo: Bob Bateman

Class 4 (rating .922 and below –16 entries) A mixed bag including the three quarter tonners, Ken Lawless in Cartoon, Paul Colton’s Cri Cri and Jim Monaghan's Enigma. We would expect the winner to come from these three and with Cartoon finishing ahead of Enigma last week at Sovereign's we will go for Cartoon to win this class. Paul Colton Cri Cri could be a wild card, however, as he has done a lot of work to her over the winter and it is not fully known how this will effect her performance.

Published in Volvo Regatta

An ICRA competitor is in hospital today after being washed overboard on the return voyage from the championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club yesterday.

The Dublin Bay competitor ran into problems off the Waterford/Wexford coast last night.

Yesterday's last day of the ICRA event was cancelled due to strong winds.

It is the second serious accident to befall yachts on passage to and from this year's event.

Nine days ago, a Scottish competitor sank off the Saltee Islands on their way to the championships.

Rescue helicopter 117 was sent on a mission to rescue a crew member of the 33–foot yacht that was 'washed overboard by a large wave'.

The accident happened 15–miles offshore. A westely gale was blowing and sea conditons at the time were decribed as 'rough' by the Coastguard.

The remaining two crew onboard the yacht managed to recover their crew–mate from the water in very difficult circumstances.

The wave activated the yachts life raft which then trailed astern of the yacht.

According to the Coastguard, in the rough sea conditions, the R117 helicopter crew decided the safest place to put their winchman was into the life raft. The winchman then climbed onto the yacht and winched the 'ill' crew member from the yacht and brought him back to Waterford Airport where he was taken to hospital by the Ambulance Service. 

Dunmore East RNLI lifeboat escorted the yacht to Dunmore East harbour. Local sources say the racing yacht will remain at the harbour for the coming days.

Further updates as we have them.

Published in ICRA

ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney and Royal Cork Yacht Club Admiral John Roche presented the national champions with their trophies and prizes at the Cork Harbour Club this afternoon.

Afloat's Bob Bateman captured the prizegiving atmosphere at Crosshaven. 

Read all Afloat's coverage of the three day championships in one handy link here

DSC 0874After two days of tough racing the ICRA silverware is ready to be presented at the Royal Cork Yacht Club. Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Royal Cork Admiral John Roche (left) and ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney (centre) congratulate Mark O'Donovan and family, winners in Non Spinnaker B IRC division sailing his Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Mollie Murphy of the Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo was the winner of Non Spinnaker A IRC

DSC 0874Daragh McCormack was ICRA Class Four winner on both IRC and ECHO. The Foynes helmsman also won the J24 Southern Championships being sailed as part of the ICRA event. Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Straight wins for Paul Gibbons' Quarter-tonner Anchor Challenge (IRL 3087) gave him the Division 3 title. Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Howth Yacht Club's Ross McDonald on Equinox won the Division 2 national title Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874ICRA Class One winner is John Maybury's Joker 2 from the Royal Irish Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Paul O’Higgins, skipper of Rockabill VI (a JPK 10.80) was runner-up in IRC One and the winner of Class One ECHO division Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Robert O’Leary, Royal Cork helmsman of visiting Welsh yacht and IRC Zero winner Dark Angel Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874The Howth Yacht Club J24 ‘Scandal' K25 team Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Winning j24 skipper Daragh McCormack of Stouche with RCYC's Kieran O'Connell (left) and Admiral John Roche (right) Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Denis and AnneMarie Murphy's  crew from the Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo, winners of Non Spinnaker A IRC. Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Daragh Mc Cormack’s winning class four J24 crew from Foynes Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

DSC 0874Robert O'Leary and the Dark Angel Team from Swansea in Wales Photo: Bob Bateman

Published in ICRA
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An early end to a gale-lashed ICRA National Championships series at the Royal Cork Yacht Club didn't stand in the way of John Maybury's Joker 2 from successfully defending his Division 1 title and lifting the trophy for the third consecutive season. The Royal Irish YC winner was one of five titles decided over the weekend that saw a prudent race management decision not to continue racing even inside the shelter of Cork Harbour this morning.

"I honestly hadn't given any thought to the hat-trick," admitted Maybury. "But now that we've won it, it's fantastic!" Joker 2 is already the ICRA Boat of the Year for its successful 2016 season and the national title for 2017 will make the J109 a benchmark for the remainder of the year.

"It may have been a small fleet but the pedigree of the competition was excellent," commented Joker 2's tactician, Olympic veteran Mark Mansfield. Maybury was the only successful defender at Crosshaven over the three days with new national champions in all other classes.

Equinox_howth_yacht_clubHowth Yacht Club's Ross McDonald on Equinox won the Division 2 national title Photo: Bob Bateman

Straight wins for Paul Gibbons Quarter-tonner Anchor Challenge delivered a convincing win in the ten-boat Division 3 where Howth Yacht Club's Anthony Gore Grimes was the first runner-up on Dux. However, clubmate Ross McDonald on Equinox won the Division 2 national title, taking over from fellow Howth sailor David Cullen on Checkmate XV after gear damage on Saturday ended his defence.

Anchor Challenge 3087Straight wins for Paul Gibbons' Quarter-tonner Anchor Challenge (IRL 3087) gave him the Division 3 title. Photo: Bob Bateman

Breaking the past-form of Cork/Dublin national winners, Daragh McCormack from Foynes Yacht Club celebrated his newly-acquired J24 Stouche with the Division 4 national title. The 12-fleet was the largest at the ICRA championship this year with the J24 class accounting for nine of the boats and all seven top places.

Stouche_J24Daragh McCormack's Foynes Sailing Club J24 Stouche was the Division 4 national title winner. Photo: Bob Bateman

After the sad loss of Scottish entry Inis Mór on delivery to Cork a week ago, the depleted Division 0 saw a thrilling match-race series instead between local Robert O'Leary at the helm of Tony Ackland's "We had great fun, real match-racing. They gave us a good run and in only one race did both boats finish more than four boat-lengths apart," O'Leary said while predicting a re-match at the Sovereigns Cup in ten days time and Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July.

Meanwhile, the results from Saturday also stood for the White Sails fleets with Denis and Anne-Marie Murphys’ Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo topping Division A under ECHO handicap while Clodagh O'Donavan’s Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties won Division B.

After a weather-lashed second day, principal race officers Jack Roy and Peter Crowley again opted to race both fleets inside Cork Harbour for the final day. But in spite of strong sunshine, westerly winds gusting to gale force kicked up a heavy chop even inside the harbour so the decision was made to abandon the series with the five races already successfully sailed.

"The ICRA championships this year were as much a test of racing skills as seamanship for everyone who participated - the 2017 champions are worthy winners," said ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney. "Clearly, the sport has issues to address including the fixtures conflict and small fleets. But ICRA will consult with our sailors in the coming months to find solutions so that we can deliver an exciting championship at a great venue - Galway Bay in August 2018".

ICRA prizegiving photos are here

Published in ICRA
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2017 ICRA Champions will be crowned shortly at Royal Cork Yacht Club after a decision to cancel today's final races due to strong winds in Cork Harbour.

Organisers ran a full schedule of races on Friday (day one report here) and Saturday (day two report here) ensuring a championship series has been completed, regardless of today's early end.

Harbour Courses were laid this morning but winds reached 35–knots before start time and racing was cancelled 'on safety grounds' by the race officers.

A prizegiving at RCYC is scheduled for 3pm.

ICRA 2017 National Championships photo galleries by Bob Bateman are here: Day one and Day two

Published in ICRA
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Bob Bateman's photo–gallery from this afternoon's second day of racing at the 2017 ICRA National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club is below.

WM Nixon's second day race report is here

Published in ICRA

They’ve had a mighty busy day at Cork for Day 2 of the ICRA Nats 2017, with Race Officers Jack Roy and Peter Crowley putting through a rapid-fire programme of three races to give them an event and a result even if the world is blown away tomorrow writes W M Nixon.

Five races already in the can. It’s good going. In fact, tomorrow will probably see a further freshening of the strong sou’sou’westerlies around midday, but then a veering and ultimately an easing. However, by that time, with all the joys of Monday morning beckoning, the fleet will be looking to have things done and dusted by early afternoon at the very latest.

dark angel jump juice2Maybe it’s just as well Bob Bateman’s pics come without sound....This is Dark Angel, helmed by Robert O’Leary, doing all she can to let Conor Phelan’s Jump Juice get back in front again. Photo Bob Bateman

“Dusted”, however, is scarcely the word, as the mixture of rain and wind washed away any dust long since. But these people are sportsmen, and whatever the conditions have thrown at them, they’ve gone out and got on with it, even if it needed the use of the big natural harbour’s shelter at times to push through some of the programme.

In Class 0 as far as numbers are concerned, the mantra is “small is beautiful”. The sinking of the Ker 39 Inis Mor while Crosshaven-bound from Scotland just one short week ago, and the withdrawal of another biggie, has led to a match-racing series between Conor Phelan’s Ker 36 Jump Juice and Robert O’Leary driving the Dubois 37 Dark Angel, an oldie which has been round the block and then some.

Oldie she may be, but with young O’Leary on top form, the Angel has been sailing like she’s new-born. Or maybe that should be Born Again. Halleluliah anyway. She has won all five races thus far, and even when she wasn’t in front on the water, a rating advantage of 0.008 points put her back on top.

In Class 1, John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II was having it all her own way with a row of three bullets until Race 4, when the Kelly family’s usually all-conquering J/109 Storm finally found her mojo again after some rather iffy results, and came up with the win, while in Race 5, Paul O’Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI rounded out a 4,5,2,2 scoreline with the win.

joker bon exemple3John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II chasing Colin Byrne’s XP 33 Bon Exemple. Photo: Bob Bateman
ohiggins rockabill4Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI found improved form today, rounding it out with a win in Race 5. She’s a boat in a hurry – next Wednesday evening, she’s due on the start line at Dun Laoghaire for the 275-mile Dingle Race. Photo Bob Bateman

Meanwhile, with these interlopers filling her accustomed top slot, Joker II had to be content with a 5th and a 4th, but she still leads overall, with Rockabill second and Rob McConnell’s A35 Fool’s Gold being anything but foolish for a steady third, with a scoreline in which she was never worse than fourth, but never better than second. Did somebody mention a bridesmaid?

slack alice harmony5Slack Alice from Dunmore East and Harmony from Howth battling it out in IRC 2. Photo: Bob Bateman

The two Howth boats battling for the overall lead in IRC 2 have seen Ross McDonald’s X-332 Equinox slip in front by just one point over Jonny Swan’s classic Half Tonner Harmony, all a bit weird as Equinox had a 6th and 2nd but then a first, while Harmony had two fourths and a second. It was local hero Finbar O’Regan’s day as he notched 2,1,3 with his Elan 333 Artful Dodger, enough to put him into third ahead of the Tingles in Alpaca.

jack roy6“If you want anything done, ask a busy man to do it”. ISA President Jack Roy has somehow carved out the time to be one of the Race Officers at the ICRA Nats – Peter Crowley is the other. Photo Bob Bateman

IRC 3 was almost boring, as it saw Paul Gibbons’ Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge log three more wins to give him five in all, while Anthony Gore-Grimes’ X-302 Dux had three seconds. But the Corby 25 Fusion (named today as sailed by Ronan Cobbe) enlivened things greatly by having two thirds, but then a fourth. Now there’s variety for you....... On the points table, those three are now out of sight in that order from the rest of the class.

Division 4 continues to be dominated by J/24s in the first seven positions, but Flor O’Driscoll must have over-celebrated yesterday’s success last night, as he’s now back in fourth overall after a 3rd, 13th (whoops) and 5th today. It’s Daragh McCormack who has a good points lead after the old 2,1,2 today, while Ciaran White is into second OA in Scandal with a 4,2,1, and Mark Usher is third.

ya gotta wanna7The boat whose name sums it all up down in Crosser tonight. A rush of J/24s is led by Ya Gotta Wanna (Dave Lane & Sinead Enright). Photo Bob Bateman

Non-spinnaker Division A continues to see Denis & AnneMarie Murphy’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo making her stately way round the course with a string of wins, while the Dillon/Baxter J/80 Rioja has a similar string of seconds, but the unlikely scoreline of 9,9,3 and 3 has seen Wan & Eric Waterman’s X37 Saxon Senator take over third slot overall.

grand soleil nieulargo8Classy. The Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (Denis & AnneMarie Murhy) dominates non-spinnaker Division A. Photo Bob Bateman

And finally in Non-Spinnaker Div B, Clodagh O’Donovan;s Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties is doing that very thing, roaring along with even greater vigour. While that class had only two races today, she won them both, with a clear lead of 5 points over second finisher Pat Vaughan with the Contessa 33 Aramis, while Tom O’Mahony’s Hanse 31 Loch Greine has taken over third slot overall with a fourth, and then a second in the final race of the day.

ICRA adds: 

For many crews on Day 2 of the ICRA National Championships at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the weather conditions seemed determined to merge Sailing with Mixed Martial Arts, such was the range of gear damage and minor bodily injuries throughout the 43 boat fleet.

Yet despite the gale force gusts throughout the day, three races were sailed resulting in a championship with the final day still on the cards though subject to similar or heavier weather conditions.

Both A and B fleets were started inside the shelter of Cork Harbour with just brief forays outside to Ringabella and Harp buoys for the bigger boats to test the conditions in the morning.

Only two of the five divisions have runaway leaders and a raft of mostly new national champions is likely tomorrow.

Although Conor Phelan's Division Zero title on Jump Juice looks set to fall to Robert O'Leary on Tony Ackland Welsh visitor Dark Angel, straight wins for the visiting boat belies the nip and tuck match race sailed over the past two days. The defending title holder hasn't been able to open up distance on the lower-rated challenger in racing where the smallest handling error determines the result.

In Division One, John Maybury's hopes for a third consecutive national title on Joker 2 are under pressure from Paul O'Higgins Rockabill VI who enjoyed resurgent form ending top boat for the day and coming within two points of Maybury in first place. By contrast, after winning the opening race of the day Joker 2 placed out the top three for the next two races and faces a decisive final day.

A broken spinnaker pole for Division 2 title holder David Cullen on Checkmate XV ended his title hopes as he retired after the opening race of the day. Howth YC clubmates Ross McDonald on Equinox in first overall and Johnny Swan on Harmony in second now lead the hunt for the national title.

Paul Gibbons' Anchor Challenge is the only other class leader to match Dark Angel's straight run of bullets in Division Three and appears unstoppable going into the final day.

Amongst the J24 battle that dominates the leading boats of Division Four, Darragh McCormack's Foynes entry Stouche has risen steadily to top the leaderboard overnight after two second places and a win for the day. Previous leader Flor O'Driscoll with Hard On Port from the Royal St. George YC had a good start to the day with a second but then had an On-Course Side starting disqualification in race two followed by redress in the final race after a Port and Starboard incident resulted in a series-ending collision.

Meanwhile, amongst the two White Sails Divisions, two races were sailed for the day inside Cork Harbour where it was relatively flat-water but winds still funneled to Gale Force making for tricky racing. Denis and Anne-Marie Murphys’ Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo topped Division A under ECHO handicap with two wins while Clodagh O'Donavan’s Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties leads Division B with a win and a second place for the day.

"I want to pay tribute to the many crews who displayed great stamina and maintained a very high standard in the most demanding conditions today," said ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney of Foynes SC. "All week it seemed certain that we would have a memorable regatta and today is proof positive of this."

With three races completed for Day 2, a championship series has been achieved plus a single event discard also came into force after race five. As with Saturday's schedule, race officers Jack Roy and Peter Crowley will decide on options for Sunday's final races in the morning though with more high winds forecast, availing of the shelter of Cork Harbour appears likely.

ICRA National Championships (overall after day two) at Royal Cork Yacht Club: 

icra Day 2 results

See Bob Bateman's Day Two Photo Gallery Here

Published in ICRA
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A highly anticipated ICRA National Championships got underway at Royal Cork Yacht Club this afternoon with two races successfully completed before the weather is expected to take a turn for the worse tomorrow.

WM Nixon has wrapped up the first day in his report and results here and Bob Bateman's ICRA day one photo gallery is below:

Published in ICRA
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