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This year the J/24 Southern Championships will return to Cork Harbour for the third consecutive year with the added incentive to participate as the ‘Southerns’ will run in conjunction with the ICRA Nationals at the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

This will extend the championship from a two day to three day event and racing under the ICRA banner means National Titles are also up for grabs in both IRC and ECHO, within the division. The Frank Heath Trophy will be presented to the winners of the Southern Championship, based on results extracted from IRC.

In close collaboration with other clubs RCYC have agreed with Foynes Yacht Club that boats participating in the J/24 Western Championships at the end of May will be able to leave their boats at the Foynes club until the ICRA Nationals just a few weeks later. While in the area, there is an option to do a third event, with Sovereign’s Cup taking place in Kinsale at the end of June, and again free storage between events.

The J/24’s have been seeing something of a revival in recent years and it’s hard not to see the allure. A boat that can be trailer sailed and needs a crew of just five eliminates many of the headaches of owners of bigger boats. The J/24's are often described as ‘tweaky’ boats which take a bit of getting used to but for the sailors who want to improve their racing skills and understanding of rig tuning, weight displacement etc. these are a brilliant and very affordable option. As with any one design fleet, racing is highly competitive and mistakes can be costly in relation to results but that’s part of the fun, a real measure of sailing skills!

There is also a fantastic social side to the après sailing. Under the leadership of the Irish J/24 Class Association President Flor O’Driscoll you will find an extremely welcoming association with the more experienced J/24 sailors happy to share their knowledge over a pint at the bar. There will be entertainment at the Royal Cork Yacht Club after sailing each evening with BBQ or sit down dinner options available, so plenty of opportunity to analyse the days racing and pick the brains of fellow sailors. Running alongside a major national event will surely augment the craic and can only make for a better weekend of sailing!

The Carrigaline Court Hotel are offering a fantastic deal with a Room Only Rate (per night) of Single €85.00, Double/Twin €99.00, Triple €109.00. Bed and breakfast and evening meal options also available. Please quote ‘IRC National Championships’ when booking. 

The early bird entry fee of €150 is still available. ICRA and RCYC would ask all competitors to book as soon as possible to facilitate better planning of the event.

Published in J24
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Whatever about all the other sailing around Howth Yacht Club, there are few who would dispute that one of the biggest HYC stories this year is the success of this J24 team.

Following their unprecedented success over the past months and years, the Ireland's Eye Kilcullen team threw a typically 'understated' celebration in Howth Yacht Club last Saturday night. Many of this team were founder participants in the K25 (under 25) programme when it was initiated in 2009 and now see themselves not only as successful graduates, but they've also developed and set the standard at the very highest level for those youth sailors from Howth following behind them.

In an extraordinarily short few years to the end of August this year and in addition to their numerous regional titles, the Ireland's Eye Kilcullen team held J24 National titles, ICRA National title, Match Racing National title (with former team member Ryan Scott), twice J24 European Under 25 winners, European IRC silver medal and won J24 European Championship bronze recently. Their last spectacular accomplishment in retaining their J24 National title in Dun Laoghaire recently seemed to slip past most of the sailing press's notice, where they sailed a flawless national championship series to win the title with seven straight race wins.

Most of this team will now be stepping down to make way for the next aspiring group of teenage and youth sailors motivated to replicate their success. As the remainder of the team now reaches 25 years of age, the youngest team member (Cian Manley) is empowered with forming and bringing one of the next teams through.

J24 Irelands eye HowthCian, Gordon, Sam and Cillian presenting Brendan and Paul O'Sullivan of Ireland's Eye (2nd and 4th from left) with a framed momento from their highly successful year Photo: HYC

So what happens in the lives of these guys next? It was always possible that the K25 initiative would seed opportunities for those wishing to join the professional sailing circuit and Luke Malcolm seems to have relished this prospect, as he's currently spending the remainder of this year doing many of the RYA accreditation modules in the south of England. In tactician and sport science graduate Gordon Stirling, the K25's loss is Ulster Rugby's gain, because 'Gordo' is now working with them as Strength and Conditioning Coach. Having been one of HYC's youngest Senior Instructors just a few short years ago, helmsman Cillian Dickson will now be applying his time to concentrate on studying for his Actuarial Science Degree. The final member of the 'retired' team is Sam O'Byrne, who's own 'DropChef' business with another former K25 member (Ryan Scott) will undoubtedly flourish under the Howthman's relentless energy.

Acknowledging the support given to the squad since it's inception, the guys were quick to thank The gift to Ireland's Eye Knitwear included gold, silver and bronze medals won by the team. The gift to Ireland's Eye Knitwear included gold, silver and bronze medals won by the team their sponsors including local knitware company 'Ireland's Eye' - presenting Brendan and Paul O'Sullivan with a specially framed photo set integrated with gold (ISA National J24 title), silver (IRC Europeans) and bronze (J24 European) medals. In addition to hosting dinner in the club for the sponsors, they invited K25 mentors Brian McDowell and Fergus O'Kelly and former HYC Commodore Brian Turvey, to thank them and the club for their support of this hugely successful youth initiative. The team was also quick to thank coach Graeme Grant and others such as Paddy Gregory and Ian Malcolm for their help with logistics.

Brian Turvey praised the team for the way in which they applied themselves and developed as an extraordinarily capable force not just in terms of race results but also as ambassadors for Howth Yacht Club.

With the provision of three J24 keelboats (by Enda O'Coineen and Brian McDowell) and access to the HYC's five new J80s, the K25 initiative continues to build and young sailors interested in developing their sailing skills in a team-focused environment with a view to high-performance achievement should contact [email protected] for further information.

Published in Howth YC

#J24 - Team Ireland's Eye Kilcullen brought the J/24 Westerns title to Howth Yacht Club this weekend in the event's first running since 2014.

Three Howth K25 teams took to the waters at Lough Ree on Saturday (6 August), where Team Ireland's Eye Kilkullen led after four races.

Johnny Bravo also scored two thirds and a fourth to place them well for fourth overall on conclusion of racing yesterday (Sunday 7 August).

Published in J24

A Howth Yacht Club J24 team won last weekend's Northern championships at Sligo YC with a race to spare. The K25 team beat JP McCaldin's Jamais Encore from Lough Erne Yacht Club for the top slot in a 19–boat fleet. Flor O'Driscoll's HArd on Port from the Royal St. George YC was third. Results are downloadable below. 

Currently, the winning K25 team are in Poole in Dorset, a major J24 centre and are aiming to defend their ICRA title on home waters next month.

Published in J24

#j24 – With four race wins from six race sailed the furrthest travelled J24 won the class southern championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) today. Lough Erne's JP McCaldin from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland beat the Royal St.George's Hard on Port skippered by Flor O'Driscoll. Third was Howth Yacht Club's Kilcullen (Gordon Stirling). Full results in the seven boat fleet are downloadable below. 

Saturday morning South of Roche's Point saw a breeze of 18 to 20 knots for the first race of the J24 Southern Championship. Race Officer Ciaran McSweeney kept everybody on their toes, sounding the first gun at 10.30 as posted, catching a few competitors off guard. JP McCaldin and his crew on Jamais Encore dominated the first race with local boat YaGottaWanna showing good boat speed to claim a second place. Current Irish Champion FlorO'Driscoll claimed third place with Patrick Crosbie helming his youth team over the line ahead of the Howth Yacht Club under 25 crew.

The battle of the start line was more intense in race 2, with Howth Yacht Club and Jamais Encore stealing a march on the fleet on the first upwind leg of the windward / leeward course. The first run saw Flor O'Driscoll joining the early leaders, engaging in a duel up the next beat with HYC. The finishing places confirmed the credentials of gold fleet, with Jamais Encore, HYC and Hard on Port taking the podium.

The breeze was building by the start of race 3, and the local youth team changed from the overlapping genoa to a jib, a decision which proved to be inspired, as we watched them make their way up the racecourse, to finish close on the heels of the gold fleet boats. All the competitors followed suit with the foresail change for the last race of the day, in challenging gusty conditions. An unfortunate collission in race 4 between HYC and YaGottaWanna resulted in HYC retiring, and YaGottaWanna limping home with a hole in her aft quarter. Conor Haughton's team from the National Maritime College kept the local spirits high, with a 4th place finish.

The breeze held for the second day of racing with the race officer deciding to move the fleet to Cuskinny in the hopes of a flatter sea. All competitors opted for a jib for the first race with heavy gusts funneling up towards east ferry. Jamais Encore maintained her winning ways, bagging a third place to add to her 4 bullets in the 6 race series, and opting to withdraw from the last race to expedite hauling out, ready for the long road home to Lough Erne.

Tide became more of a prominent force in the lulls for race 6 with some boats opting to be brave and changing back to a genoa. HYC pulled out a sizeable lead on the first downwind leg only to see the lion's share of it disappear on the second beat. Another entanglement between HYC and YaGottaWanna at the leeward mark saw positions change again. Jelignite claimed their first bullet in a regional championship, a fantastic result for Finbar Ryan, and the young girls on his crew.

The crews sailed back to Crosshaven, passing the magnificent display of the Traditional Sail Fleet bathed in the sunlight of our harbour. After hauling out, all competitors enjoyed the hospitality of the club, and showed their appreciation of Kieran O'Connell for his hard work in providing a brilliantly run championship. We hope it will be an annual event here in RCYC. JP.McCaldin expressed his enjoyment of the event and the beauty of the harbour, while accepting his First Prize in gold fleet and overall J24 Southern Champion, wondering why it had taken him so long to race in RCYC. Hard on Port claimed second overall, with HYC completing the honours in the gold fleet. Local boat YaGottaWanna were delighted with their first place in silver fleet, and were highly impressed by the performance of the local youth team in a very tweaky unfamiliar boat.

Published in J24
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#j24 – Royal St. George's Flor O'Driscoll is 14th after three races of the J24 Europeans in France this week. 16th is Howth Yacht Club's Kilcullen (Cillian Dickson in a fleet of 32 boats from seven European countries. France, Ireland, Hungary, Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Greece are participating at in Crouesty de Arzon,France including representatives from the USA and Brazil. What is all the more remarkable is that this year's fleet is one of the strongest fields in a number of years.

A top USA J/24 team from Rochester, New York – Mike Ingham and gang has reinforced a strong European field. Topping it all off with regards to talent and experience will surely be multiple World and South American Champion, Mauricio Santa Cruz sailing Bruschetta with partners King and Revore.

Top ten after 3 races
1. Mike Ingham, USA, 5 points
2. Duncan McCarthy, GBR, 6
3. Ignazio Bonanno, ITA, 19
4. Frank Schonfeldt, GER, 19
5. Anthimos Nicolaidis, GRE, 23
6. TIll Pomarius, GER, 24
7. Johann Huhn, GER, 26
8. Tom Stryi, GER, 27
9. Mark Karsunke, GER, 27
10. Francois De Herce, FRA, 27

Published in J24
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#hyc – The final weekend of Howth Yacht Club's Key Capital Spring Warmer series provided another cracking days sailing yesterday writes Daragh Sheridan of HYC. There was a little less breeze than the previous weekend but there was no fall off in the excitement levels due to some great surfing conditions on the big Easterly rollers.

In the joined Class 1 and 2 Paddy Kyne's Maximus took the honours with a first and third in the final two races. He was followed in second by the star of the photos from last weekend The Big Picture (Mike and Richie Evans). Third was Dave Cullen's Checkmate being helmed by Simon Knowles as Dave Cullen was abroad.

In the largest fleet of the series Michael O'Connor on Sin Bin had a brilliantly consistent series to discard a second place to win the SB20 class for the second year running. In second was Jerry and Jimmy Dowling's Bad Kilcullen followed by Dinghy Supplies and Shane Murphy. The event provided a fantastic opportunity for the class to get in shape for their Eastern Championship to be held in Howth next weekend.

In the J24 class it was two visitors who had travelled the furthest who took the honours. First prize was Steve Atkinson from Carrickfergus followed by Martin Reilly from Sligo. In third spot was the local HYC K25 team who are preparing for a crack at the J24 Europeans later this year.

In the Squibs it was two locals to the fore with Fergus O'Kelly in first from Dave Sheahan.

The final weekend also saw the running of the Royal Alfred Niobe Trophy continuing a long standing link between the Alfred and Howth Yacht club. This saw a number of Puppeteers get their season underway with a familiar winner in the guise of Dave Clarke.

Published in Howth YC

#hyc – Competitors at the Key Capital Spring Warmer series in Howth Yacht Club were treated to glorious sunshine on the opening weekend of the season but unfortunately for all, the wind gods weren't as generous writes Daragh Sheridan.

In Race 1 in Class 2's Dave Cullen's beautifully turned out Checkmate got off to a winning start from Maximus in second and K1 in third.

The SB20 fleet was led from start to finish by Michael O'Connor in Sin Bin despite a great second beat by Ger Dempsey on Venues World. The podium was completed by Jerry Dowling's Bad Kilcullen.

The J24 fleet had shown great commitment in getting entries from as far afield as Sligo, Carrickfergus and Lough Ree. It was a dominant performance by Steve Atkinson in Bad winning both races with Martin Reilly's Crazyhorse and Finbarr Ryan taking a second a third place in each of the two races.

Local Squib guru Fergus O'Kelly heads the fleet with two first places. Second is Brian O'Hare and Alain Deladienee followed by HYC's Dave Sheahan.

Unfortunately the SB20s and Class 1 & 2 only completed one lap before the wind shut down forcing the race committee to abandon their second race.

Hopefully we will see greater number out for the second Saturday as more boats get launched and there is no Leinster match competing for competitors attention.

Published in Howth YC

#j24 – Flor O'Driscoll's Hard on Port from the Royal St.George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire has taken the J24 national title for 2014 after three days of racing at Lough Erne Yacht Club in Co Fermanagh.
In the final day of racing at the Northern Ireland club, Hard on Port took line honours in the penultimate race of the day to set up the Royal St George Yacht Club entry for the title.
Stefan Hyde's RCYC entry, Hamilton Bear, pressed hard on the final day but was unable to mount a challenge strong enough to grasp the title away from the vastly experienced Munster man at the helm of Hard on Port.
Lighter winds were an ease to the competitors after the two previous days of gruelling conditions and with the sun shining down on Lough Erne, the trip up north paid off for the visiting boats.
Line honours for the last race of the day went to U25 crew on Kilcullen from Howth Yacht Club as local boat Jamais Encore pressed for a runner up spot.
Results:
Overall - Hard on Port Flor O'Driscoll RstGYC
Runner up - Hamilton Bear Stefan Hyde RCYC
3rd - Kilcullen Gordon Stirling HYC
4th - Jamais Encore JP McCaldin LEYC
5th - Crazy Horse Tim Corcoran Sligo

Published in J24

#j24 – Day two of the Irish J24 National Championships made for a gruelling affair for the competitors as winds gusted above 25 for most of the racing day writes Andrew Carey.

With it brought a change to the leaderboard with Flor O'Driscoll's Hard On Port taking line honours in the first two races of day two.

Unfortunately for the leader after day one, JP McCaldin's Jamais Encore, retirement from race one due to a damaged rudder meant that running repairs were called for as the fleet raced on in race two, but tantamount to the resolve of the Lough Erne boat, JP and his crew returned to take line honours in the final two races of the day.

With heavy winds and squalls rolling in off the north western shores, the 12 crews took their punishment as the country's best J24 boats battled and vowed for the lead which changed throughout the tight racing.

With 6 races sailed, Hard On Port has the lead by three points over Stefan Hyde's Hamilton Bear and Jamais Encore and further eight points back.

With two races to sail on the last day, close racing will again be to the fore as the top boats battle it out for the national J24 title.

Results after 6 raced
Hard on Port Flor O'Driscoll RsGYC
Hamilton Bear Stefan Hyde RCYC
Jamais Encore JP McCaldin LEYC
Kilcullen Gordon Stirling HYC
Crazy Horse Tim Corcoran SYC

Published in J24
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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 2020

The date for the 2020 edition of the ICRA National Championships is September 11-13th, it will be sailed at Howth Yacht Club as part of WAVE Regatta

ICRA Nationals 2021

The date for the 2021 edition of the ICRA National Championships is 28-31 May at the National Yacht Club on Dublin Bay.

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