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North Sails Ireland clients dominated the recent J109 Irish National Championships in Howth Yacht Club. The top six places were hoovered up by J109's flying 100% North Sails inventories. Conditions were tough, with winds always in excess of 15 knots and often gusting to 25 knots. J109's flying North Sails 3Di / 3DL upwind and V-Series downwind sails marched away from the competition, demonstrating superior speed and unmatched reliability.

The North Sails Ireland team were very busy supporting the event onshore and afloat. Nigel Young and Maurice "Prof" O'Connell shot tons of video footage and hosted an entertaining and informative post-race de-brief, which judging by the numerous messages they received afterwards, was much appreciated by the teams.

Prof WOWing the J109 crowdProf O'Connell at the J109 North Sails Ireland debrief at Howth Yacht Club

Speaking after the event, Irish J109 Class Captain Andrew Craig said, "North Sails videoed the racing on Saturday and Prof O’Connell and Nigel Young debriefed the fleet – no boat could hide their mistakes from the video or Prof and Nigel! This was the third event at which we had North videoing on the water and the fleet gets a huge benefit from it. The common themes were sail trim and being overpowered, late drops at the leeward gates and not enough hiking which Prof calls “free speed". A million thanks to the North Sails team for all their support afloat and onshore".

Here is a sample!

Messy leeward Gate 

"Juggerknot" Upwind Video

"White Mischief" Downwind Video

"Storm II" Windward mark Approach

"Jedi" Downwind Video

North Sails Ireland also provided holdalls and hats for the top five places overall and also headfoil flags for the race winners.

North sails team 3165The North Sails team at the J109 Nationals Photo:

"We are delighted to continue our association with the J109 class for both their championships this year and we look forward to working with all the J109 sailors in the 2019 season. It's already shaping up to be a good one!", said North Sails Ireland's Nigel Young, speaking in Howth Yacht Club after the event.

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In the second part of North Sails Ireland's sponsorship of the two flagship Irish J109 events in 2018 (see here), North Sails Ireland's Maurice "Prof" O'Connell and Nigel Young team will be on the water this weekend at the National Championships at Howth Yacht Club

They will be narrating and shooting video and for an entertaining post-race de-brief ashore in the club after sailing.

Below is a video clip from the J109 East Coast Championships in Dun Laoghaire in May from 'Prof'.

North Sails will also be providing prizes for the top five boats overall and in addition, each race winner will get a specially designed winners flag to be flown off the headfoil.

Aboard White Mischief flying her 3Di Main and Code 2 JibTim and Richard Goodbody's White Mischief flying her 3Di Main and Code 2 Jib

Speaking this week before the event, J109 Irish class captain Andrew Craig (and skipper of contender "Chimaera") said, "North Sails' support of the J109 class here has been wonderful and a huge assistance to the success of our events. We are looking forward to Prof and Nigel's de-brief and, of course, the North Sails prizes and goodies are always welcome".

Andrew Craigs Chimaera flying her new 3Di Code 1 Jib and Inshore mainAndrew Craig's Chimaera flying her new 3Di Code 1 Jib and Inshore main

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On the 19th June 2018, an email landed into my inbox from Darragh McCormack making an enquiry about Mermaid sails from my loft, North Sails Ireland writes Nigel Young. I have been corresponding with Darragh since 2014 but in most cases, we talked about the J/24 rather than the Mermaid. This time things were going to change.

North Sails have been involved in the Mermaid for a number of years now and have enjoyed Nationals winning success with Paddy Dillon and several other teams have done well with our sails but we never really took much market share even after those Nationals win.

When Darragh got in touch, my initial feeling was he would just be checking out prices and getting a feel for what we might be doing in the class. Not for one moment did I think he wanted to order and do a total re-design on the Mainsail and Jib and take delivery in advance of the Nationals that were only 5-6 weeks away! After a chat on the phone, I quickly got the impression that Darragh was keen to try North Sails, so I jumped in the van the very next evening and drove to Foynes YC to go for a sail.

Darragh had some very strong feelings about the changes he wanted to make to the standard North Sails and of course specifically to fit his mast set up. On arriving in FYC that night, we looked at several sails on Darragh’s mast on shore and then took to the water. We flew more sails, took pictures of the sails in flight and I got a feel for the boat and the sail shapes. It has always been an eye-opener to sail with a new team and in the sport of sailing, there are many ways to make a boat go fast! Armed with about 50 pictures, notes, measurements and my own thoughts about the project, I headed home with an order for twelve sails… yes, twelve and they were all wanted for the Nationals!

I headed home with an order for twelve sails… yes, twelve and they were all wanted for the Nationals!

July is one of the busiest months in the sail making world and we had to re-design the sails, make sure everything was perfect and then have the sails built in our Sri Lanka facility and shipped to Ireland! Quite a tall order but the enthusiasm from Darragh was infectious so I decided to give it our best shot. Fortunately, I was able to work with Ruairidh Scott our One Design design expert in the UK, and very quickly and he worked his magic on the designs and we got everything boxed off in record time. The delivery dates were set and in theory, with no shipping hold ups Darragh’s new sails would arrive just in time for the warm-up regatta the weekend before in Skerries and the rest of the order would arrive on a just in time basis for the main event, fingers crossed!

National Champion powering downwind 900The National Champions power downwind

Like all the best-laid plans they do not always pan out perfectly! A slight shipping delay meant the sails for Darragh arrived a day late and he missed his chance to use the sails in Skerries. I was away at the time racing in the Dragon Gold Cup which was only adding to the stress of the sails being late! As it turned out, that was a windy regatta so I am not sure the sails would have been used anyway.

I landed home on the Monday and drove half-way to Foynes to meet Darragh and hand over the sails. I was off again the following day to Lake Garda for the Melges 24 Europeans so I could not even check out the sails with Darragh. Thank goodness for his confidence in us! He took the sails and spent the next two evenings ahead of the Nationals making sure everything was OK, sorting out the new Jib lead locations and wire heights.

I was phoning from Lake Garda every second minute like an expectant Father waiting to hear about the new-born Mermaid sails! Like all good Fairytales this one also has a very happy ending! The sails fitted well and more importantly proved to be very quick on their first outing. Oh, I almost forgot to say…. The other nine sails arrived the day of the practice race as well. Too tight for comfort especially as I was not about to help fit them all, which is something we always try to do here at North with a brand-new design. Fortunately, all was well and everyone got their new sails on time but only just. From conception to water in only thirty-three working days after taking the order! I think I might have lost a bit more hair during those days! Darragh went on to sail an amazing series at his home yacht club and took the overall Nationals to win in fine style, including winning the very first race the new sails were used in. I have to say, a wave of relief came over me when I heard the news after day one of the Nationals, the sails are FAST, that was all I wanted to hear!

Congratulations to Darragh and his crew of Mark McCormack and Johnny Dillon, a helm is only ever as good as his crew on this occasion the teamwork was exceptional to lift the Nationals trophy for the first time. North Sails Ireland was delighted to play a small part in this success and we wish Darragh and his crew and all the other North clients in the Mermaid class all the best for 2019.

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The overall ISORA series was won for the second successive year by Peter Dunlop and Vicki Cox's J109 "Mojito" and she also took the spoils in IRC 1. Second overall was Chris Power-Smith's J122 "Aurelia" who also won IRC 0.

1st overall in IRC 2 was Denis Power's & Lindsay Casey's J97 "Windjammer".

So the overall winner, all three class winners and most of the podium places were taken by boats flying North Sails.

Aurelia_J122Chris Power-Smith's J122 "Aurelia" Photo:

All three flew 3Di upwind sails and V-Series downwind sails.

ISORA races are tough and the series is a marathon, not a sprint. It places a premium on both consistent offshore speed but also reliability. We are delighted to see our clients winning offshore using our 3Di upwind technology and V-Series downwind sails.

Congratulations to everyone in the ISORA community and roll on 2019!


1. "Mojito" J109 Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox NORTH SAILS
2. "Aurelia" J122 Chris Power-Smith NORTH SAILS


1. "Aurelia" J122 Chris Power-Smith NORTH SAILS
3. "Rockabill VI" JPK1080 Paul O'Higgins NORTH SAILS


1. "Mojito" J109 Peter Dunlop & Vicky Cox NORTH SAILS
2. "Wakey Wakey" J109 Roger Smith NORTH SAILS
3. "YoYo" Sunfast 3600 Brendan Coghlan NORTH SAILS


1. "Windjammer" J97 Denis Power & Lindsay Casey NORTH SAILS
2. "More Mischief" First 310 Grzegorz Kalinecki NORTH SAILS

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North Sails clients finished 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th overall in the recent Irish Dragon Championships held at Glandore Harbour Sailing Club.

As previously reported, it was a tough four day series with "Phantom", helmed by Neil Hegarty and crewed by David Williams and Peter Bowring emerging victorious in a tight final race.

An indication of how tough the racing was is that multiple Dragon Gold Cup, World Champion and Olympic medallist Paul Ricard Hoj-Jensen finished fourth overall.


1. "Phantom" - Neil Hegarty, David Williams, Peter Bowring - NORTH SAILS
2. "Jaguar" - Martin Byrne, Adam Winkelmann, Mark Pettit - NORTH SAILS (partial inventory)
3. "Little Fella" - Cameron Good, Simon Furney, Henry Kingston - NORTH SAILS
4. "Danish Blue" - Paul Ricard Hoj-Jensen - NORTH SAILS

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North Sails Ireland congratulate clients Dave Cullen, Jonny Swan and both teams crews for taking first and second overall at the Half Ton Cup last week in Belgium writes sailmaker Nigel Young.

The Half Ton Cup has been well supported by Irish Teams for the last number of years and 2018 was no different. The week started with light winds and flat water and the breeze and waves slowly built throughout the week until the final two days saw some gusts of over 20 knots to test the crews.

Dave Cullen and his experienced team were a little slow out of the blocks in results terms early in the week but once the breeze came in there was no stopping them. Congratulations to Dave and all the crew for a great performance and dominating the racing as the regatta unfolded.

Harmony North SailsJonny Swan's Harmony Photo: Fiona Brown

I was lucky enough to be sailing with our latest Half-Ton client Jonny Swan who recently made the step up to North Sails. Jonny sailing with his regular Team from Howth with the addition of yours truly mirrored the performance of his club mates starting off a bit shaky in the light airs but again showing great form when the breeze was up.

Second overall Jonny's best HTC result to date since purchasing Harmony and his first major Half-Ton class regatta using North Sails.

Only three and a half points separated the top two boats in the end but to be fair we never really felt like we could beat Dave as he often had a tiny edge we struggled to match.

Both boats were sailing with 100% 3Di upwind sails and V-Series Symmetrical spinnakers downwind.

For more information about North Sails 3Di please take a look at the link here

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North Sails Ireland was to the fore at Volvo Cork Week with NS Ireland–powered boats claiming victories and podium positions across most of the IRC and one-design classes.

Nigel Young, Maurice "Prof" O'Connell and Shane Hughes from the North Sails Ireland team were all afloat assisting their customers around the racetracks. Service manager Richard Marshall worked late into the evenings in the sail loft assisting customers overnight with minor repairs and service work.

Cork week All in12North Sails Nigel Young (sitting second from right) on board the Half Tonner Harmony Photo: Bob Bateman

Speaking at the event in Crosshaven, North Sails Ireland's Nigel Young said, "once again, Cork Week delivered the weather and our clients delivered the results! We were delighted to see so many fast North Sails-powered boats going so well. Well done guys for a fantastic week".

Cork week All in41The North Sails powered J109 Juggerknot competing in the Beaufort Cup Photo: Bob Bateman

North Sails-powered results below:-

Joker II Irish Defence Forces TeamBeaufort Cup winner Joker II - J109 - Barry Byrne - Irish Defence Forces Photo: Bob Bateman

Beaufort Cup

1. Joker II - J109 - Barry Byrne - Irish Defence Forces
2. Juggerknot - J109 - Youen Jacob - Baltimore RNLI
4. Nieulargo - GS 40 - Denis & Annemarie Murphy - Crosshaven RNLI

Eleuthera_Cork_weekIRC One Winner, Eleuthera. Frank Whelan's Greystones SC Grand Soleil 43 Photo: Bob Bateman


1. Eleuthera - GS 43 - Frank Whelan - Greystones SC
2. Forty Licks - First 40 - Jay Colville - East Down YC
3. El Gran Senor - J122E - Jonathan Anderson - Clyde Cruising Club
4. Dark Angel - Dubois 37 - Tony Ackland - Swansea YC
5. Jump Juice - Ker 37 - Conor Phelan - Royal Cork YC

J109 MojitoIRC 2 winner – Mojito - J109 - Peter Dunlop / Vicki Cox - Pwllheli SC Photo: Bob Bateman


1. Mojito - J109 - Peter Dunlop / Vicki Cox - Pwllheli SC
2. Jigamaree - J109 - Ronan Harris - Royal Irish YC
3. Jelly baby - J109 - Brian Jones - Royal Cork YC
5. Aquelina - J112E - james 7 Sheila Tyrrell - Arklow SC

Miss Whiplash IRC 3 Cork WeekIRC 3 Winner – Miss Whiplash Photo: Bob Bateman


1. Miss Whiplash - 1/2 Tonner - Ronan and John Downing - Royal Cork YC
2. Harmony - 1/2 Tonner - Jonny Swan - Howth YC
4. Alpaca - X34 - Paul & Deirdre Tingle - Royal Cork YC
5. Kodachi - Corby 27 - Wrights et al - Howth YC


2. Diamond - 1/4 Tonner - James Matthews - Kinsale YC
3. Cracker - Trapper T250 - Denis Byrne - Royal Cork YC
5. Cartoon -1/4 tonner - Ken Lawless & Sybil McCormack - Royal Irish YC -

Non-Spinnaker 1

3. Roaring Forties - B35s5 - Clodagh O'Donovan - Royal Cork YC
4. Supergroove - Dibley 8m - Ronan Stack - Arklow SC

Coastal IRC

3. Prima Luce - Patrick Burke - First 35 - Royal Irish YC


1. Serafina - Daniel Murphy - Kinsale YC
2. Phantom - Peter Bowing - Royal St George YC
3. Little Fella - Cameron Good - Kinsale YC

untitled 81121720 second overall Dark Side - Brian Twomey - Royal Cork YC Photo: Bob Bateman


2. Dark Side - Brian Twomey - Royal Cork YC
3. Luvvly Jubbly - Andrew Brook & Eleri Griffiths - SCYC & PSC

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North Sails Ireland-powered Sigma 33's had weekend success at their recent UK & Irish Championships hosted by the Royal St. George YC on Dublin Bay.

Seven out of the top 10 boats had North Sails in their inventory including the overall winner "Leaky Roof II" who flew their North Sails PX15T No. 1 Genoa and Norlon 75 spinnaker to seal their overall win with a scoreline that including three race wins.

Maurice "Prof" O'Connell from North Sails Ireland was on the water that week helping set-up Dick Lovegrove's "Rupert" with her new 3Di NorDac mainsail and no. 1 genoa.

Sigma 33 Rupert flying their new 3Di NorDac Upwind SailsSigma 33 Rupert flying their new 3Di NorDac Upwind Sails Photo: North Sails Ireland

Sigma 33 Rupert 3Di NorDac No. 1 GenoaSigma 33 Rupert 3Di NorDac No. 1 Genoa Photo: North Sails Ireland

NSI colleague Shane Hughes was also afloat assisting "Meltemi" from Dunmore East with a new 3Di NorDac No. 1 genoa.

Speaking after the event, North Sails Ireland's Nigel Young said, "we were delighted to see so many North Sails Sigma 33 customers afloat over the weekend. North Sails Ireland, UK South Coast and Scotland all look after Sigma 33 clients to deliver them the fastest and most durable sail technology at an affordable price. Congratulation to the Sigma 33 fleet on a successful event".

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The North Sails Ireland team were at WAVE Regatta in Howth Yacht Club over the weekend supporting their customers on and off the water.

North Sails Ireland supplied the event with over 150 premium laminated skipper packs for the competitors. Nigel Young was in the RIB providing video support and analysis. Maurice "Prof" O'Connell was tactician on "Jump Juice" in IRC 0 and Shane Hughes raced on Jonny Swan's "Harmony" in IRC 2 on Friday.

Jump Ker 37 3595Maurice "Prof" O'Connell was tactician on "Jump Juice" in IRC 0 Photo:

Service manager Richard Marshall was in Howth too for any overnight repair and service requests.

Morth sails RIB 3839Nigel Young was in the North Sails RIB providing video support and analysis Photo:

North Sails powered boats emerged victorious across numerous classes in the tricky and variable conditions.

Joggerknot j109 3298J109 Juggerknot Photo:
In the uber-competitive IRC 1 fleet, Andrew Algeo's "Juggerknot" continued her winning ways powering to victory with a sizable margin. Speaking after the event, Algeo said, "Prof, as I hope you know, your support is invaluable - we wouldn't be at the races without it."

storm j109 3235J109 Storm Photo:

2nd (the Kelly's J109 "Storm II") , 3rd (John Maybury's J109 "Joker II") , 4th (Colin Byrne's Xp33 "Bon Exemple") and 5th (Tim and Richard Goodbody's J109 "White Mischief") were also taken by North Sails-powered boats flying 3Di / 3DL upwind inventories and V-Series downwind sails.

Harmony Half tonner 4520Half Tonner Harmony Photo:

In an equally competitive IRC 2 fleet, the half-tonner shoot-out was won by Dave Cullen's "Checkmate XV". Cullen's team were pushed hard by Jonny Swan's "Harmony" in 2nd and Mike and Richard Evans' "The Big Picture" in 3rd. 4th in this tough class was Stephen Quinn's J97 "Lambay Rules". All four boats were powered by North Sails flying 3DL / 3Di / V-Series sails. Speaking after the event, Dave Cullen said "We have worked with Prof in North Sails Ireland ever since we acquired "Checkmate". Our new 3Di RAW main is a thing of beauty and we were flying at the weekend!".

"Our new 3Di RAW main is a thing of beauty and we were flying at the weekend!"

The one-design Puppeteer fleet raced the Lambay Race on the Saturday with 1st and 2nd taken by North Sails-powered "pups". Colin and Kathy Kavanagh in "Blue Velvet" won the race, They were in the lead from start to finish flying their new GN-1B genoa. Neil Murphy and Conor Costello's in yellow "Yellow Peril" took the silver medal spot, also flying a full NS inventory.

In the non-spinnaker IRC 4 division, Colm Bermingham's Elan 333 "Bite The Bullet" took the spoils, flying their 3DL carbon aramid upwind (and indeed also downwind!) sails. After sailing on Sunday Colm said, "Cheers Prof....Delighted to win the class overall (against all the bigger boats) and to get a win each day too, in quite different conditions. Guess that shows the versatility of the North 3DL's!!".

In IRC 5 (non-spinnaker), Windsor Laudan and Steffi Ennis' lovely Shamrock "Demelza" took 2nd overall with their full NS inventory. Speaking after the event, Windsor said, "our new No. 2 genoa was amazing, even in lighter airs, we still had plenty of power".

Signal 8 on her way to winning IRC 0 Flying her North Sails A3 Asymmetric and Spinnaker Staysail 1Royal Hong Kong entry Signal 8 on her way to winning IRC 0 Flying her North Sails A3 Asymmetric and Spinnaker Staysail 1 Photo: North Sails Ireland

North Sails Ireland Manager Nigel Young, speaking from Howth said, "the first WAVE regatta was a great success for Howth YC. North Sails Ireland worked with the regatta organising team since it's inception and we were delighted to provide the skipper's packs for the event. It was really great to see so many of our clients sailing fast. Well done and congratulations to all the teams involved!".

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North Sails Ireland-powered race-boats took three podium places in the just-concluded Scottish Series raced in majestic conditions on the beautiful waters of Loch Fyne.

In IRC 2, the Kelly family's heavily IRC-optimised J109 "Storm II" from Rush SC won her class with a four-point margin. Speaking after racing in Tarbert, David Kelly said, "the boat felt as if it was doing eight knots at times upwind, our new Code 2 jib is giving us unbelievable upwind speed". Her downwind performance is also exceptional - "Storm II" is the only J109 in Ireland or the UK fitted with symmetric spinnakers - supplied by North Sails Ireland.

Harmony Half tonnerJohnny Swan's classic half-tonner "Harmony" was second in Class Three. Photo: Marc Turner/Scottish Series

In IRC 3, Johnny Swan's classic half-tonner "Harmony" from Howth YC, finished an incredibly close 2nd in her class, losing out by only a single point. "Harmony" was only launched for the season four days before the event and unveiled her new suit of North Sails 3Di upwind sails and V-Series symmetric spinnakers for Scotland.

Jump Juice Scotland"Jump Juice" flying her 3DL 860 inshore mainsail and V-Series 0.6oz symmetric spinnaker at 2018 Scottish Series Photo: Marc Turner/Scottish Series

In IRC 1, Conor & Denise Phelan's Ker 37 "Jump Juice" from Royal Cork YC, with North Sails Ireland's Maurice "Prof" O'Connell sailing aboard as tactician, finished 3rd overall. Speaking after the event, Prof commented, "we made some pretty drastic rig adjustments which seem to have improved the boat's upwind performance. Our electric backstay failed on the Sunday which resulted in two bad races that day so I guess we have to be happy with a close third overall!".

Speaking from the recently concluded Dragon event in la Baule, France, North Sails Ireland's Nigel Young said, "we are delighted to see our customers delivering exceptional performances in Scotland. Well done to you all. The North Sails Ireland team will be at Wave Regatta next weekend in Howth so we are looking forward to getting the low down on Scotland then".

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Page 10 of 12

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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