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The ICRA U25 Support Programme is now in its fourth year and currently supporting eleven U25 squads in clubs all over the country.

"The programme is showing just what is possible when the energy and enthusiasm of youth are given the financial support and mentoring they need to succeed", says ICRA U25 Officer Brian Raftery.

Following the success of the Kinsale Yacht Club U25 squad, in the cleverly named KINSAILOR, through the 2022 season, ending with an incredible third overall at the J24 European Championships in Howth. ICRA asked them to put on paper a little about the squad and their journey so far. Below is team member, Mikey Carroll's, summary of their journey so far.

In the summer of 2021, the younger members of the club took an interest in the ICRA Under 25 scheme. This scheme, between the financial support and the guiding information provided, helped us to approach our club with the idea of getting a boat. With massive support from the club and all its members, it wasn’t long before we had a J24 launched and ready to race.

The new hotshots. The final one-race day of the J/24 Euros at Howth was so damp and grey that we all need a sunny image of the new Euro J24 Youth Champions and Open Division Bronze winner to cheer us up, and this is Kinsailor in a bright mood at her home portThe new hotshots. The final one-race day of the J/24 Euros at Howth was so damp and grey that we all need a sunny image of the new Euro J24 Youth Champions and Open Division Bronze winner to cheer us up, and this is Kinsailor in a bright mood at her home port

We started our campaign in April of this year. We enjoyed some club league racing as we got to grips with the boat. We had a lot to learn in terms of boat handling and maintenance. Our first event was the nationals in Foynes in July where we placed 8th overall. This event was an eye opener for us and we quickly realized how important boat knowledge and boat handling were for this particular class. We were happy with the result but felt we still had a lot to learn and had plenty of speed left to find in the boat. Since then we have come a long way with a massive helping hand from all involved in the class and especially the boys on Headcase.

By the time the Easterns came round in late August we had improved enormously. Our boat handling was much better and we had learned a few tricks in the boat cleaning/polishing department! We achieved second place only to Headcase who had achieved a very strong set of results across Europe over the summer. The Europeans was a different experience. It was our first time racing Kinsailor in a fleet of over 20 boats. We started with an inconsistent 27th and 2nd on the first day. As the regatta progressed we improved and started to handle the bigger fleet racing better. 3rd overall was something we had wished for, but not expected. It was a fantastic reward for the time we had put into the boat over the summer.

ICRA’s Under 25 Development is without doubt, a support programme, that all clubs should look at for the development of youth sailing and offering their clubs young sailors an opportunity to run their own boat and their own campaign.

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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)