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#optiworldsnz –Sailing for Ireland, Sophie Browne of Tralee Bay Sailing Club has dropped from 7th to 16th overall after six races sailed at the Optimist World Championships, according to provisional results from organisers this morning. Browne scored a 16th in race six of the 210–boat fleet to place 16th overall. Significantly though the top Irish sallor is on equal points with 14th place and only seven points off the top ten, still very much in contention. Only 10 points separate 11 of the top 16 boats in the fleet with a further discard in hand and everything to play for. It is the first time Ireland has contested the World championships in four years, Irish efforts have been previously concentrated on the European championships.


Sophie on day three of the Oppy worlds in Napier. Photo: Matias Cappizzano

Today, the third day of racing at the Optimist World Championships, the breeze was light and variable and when the race officer got proceedings underway it was 5 to 7 knots of wind. Although the conditions did not suit Sophie very much, she has still managed to maintain a consistent performance on a very challenging day for her.

The usual local wind pattern has not materialised in the past few days and the temperature has been lower than usual with rain and cloud cover. The land has not heated up enough to generate sufficient convection to establish a sea breeze.

The wind shifted and dropped making conditions very difficult at times. Sophie had been in 7th place overall on the leader board overnight after 2 days of the event, but despite a difficult start she managed to claw her way back to 12th place at the winward mark and held on to her place to the wing mark, she then improved and gained a few more places on the last beat to the finish line when the wind dropped off further before shifting and favouring the opposite side of the track.

Sophie finished 16th in the only race today and now lies 16th overall for the championship after one discard.

She continues to sail with consistency which may assist her in the overall standings at the end of the regatta. She has placed in the top 20, out of 210 boats competing, in every one of her 6 races so far in this event.

The next two days are for team racing only followed by a lay day and Sophie's next race will be on Saturday when the last 3 days of fleet racing starts.

More results as we have them. Day two vid below where Sophie gets vertiable mention for her strong wind technique.

Published in Optimist

#OPTI – Ireland's Sophie Browne stayed on course for a top result at the Optimist World championship in New Zealand yesterday counting four more top 20 results in the 210–boat feet to be plced  seventh overall after five races sailed.

The young sailors race in six groups so even after five races there are still a lot of ties and uncertainties but there is no doubting the performance of Browne so far.

Her father Donal who travelled with her to New Zeland sent us this message this morning:

"Sophie is going very well and she is keeping very cool, conservative, playing it straight up the fairway, playing the percentages and trying to control some of the very serious oposition. It is early days in a long regatta and its just another day at the office! Sophie is really enjoying the kiwi experience here in Napier"

The sole Irish competitor is now on equal points with sixth overall. The Tralee Bay sailor counts a very consistent set of scores of 4,12, 17, 5 and 14, and only 29 points off first place on the nation leaderboard currently held by Holland's Bart Lambriex.

You could hear a sigh of relief when all 210 competitors got up this morning: the sun was out, and there was a bit of a breeze. During the day, the wind changed and the clouds came back in, but at least the rain held off.

The race committee decided early on to try and get four races completed today in order to catch up with yesterday's delays and abandonment of the second race.

First race started at 10.25am with only 6 knots breeze. Later in the day, the wind got up to 20 knots, but was not staying around for long. A few of the flights had to be abandoned, but overall the race committee is pleased to have called four races for each of the three fleets.

Provisional results after five races show Bart Lambriex from the Netherlands placed first, Wade Waddell from the USA is placed second and Philip Meijer also from the Netherlands is placed third.

Ryan Lo who was in second place yesterday, holds the fourth position.

Best New Zealand sailor is Leonard Takahasi-Fry, who is now in sixth position, climbing from 23rd yesterday.

It was a long but very good day for sailing. Sailors left the harbour at 9.30am to start the first race at 10.25am and returned around 5pm.

The weather for tomorrow is promising to be fine with southerlies dying out, with wind speed around 12 knots. The lighter winds are usually favourable for the lighter sailors, and this competition isn't over yet. The Optimist World Championship finishes on January 9th.


All our coverage of Sophie Browne at the Optimist World Champs here

Published in Optimist

#OPTIWORLDS – Tralee's Sophie Browne is in the top ten of the Optimist World Championships in New Zealand after yesterday's first race of the event. The sole Irish competitor produced a top opening result in her blue division of the massive 210–boat fleet and shares ninth on the nation leaderboard with Slovakia's Toni Vrscaj and Thailand's Sarawut Phetsiri.

The Kerry 14–year–old has already completed the pre-worlds event in Napier proving her boat speed at the worlds venue with a credible 21st place overall.


14-year-old Sophie Browne sailing for Ireland in New Zealand. Photo: Brian Carlin

After delays caused by concerns about competitor seeding and light winds, the competitors were led out of the harbour by the Maori waka Nga Tukemata O Kahungunu for the first days racing. This provided a great spectacle to onlookers and followed on from the great feedback received from competitors and supporters following last nights' official welcome and competition opening ceremony.

210 competitors from 48 countries are divided into 6 groups resulting in three fleets per race and a spectacle on the start line with seventy boats per race.  With a light breeze of 7 knots moving around during the afternoon, the first race started at 14.48 (2.48pm) with all three flights getting away for the first race.  A light breeze stayed in throughout the first races with provisional results showing three Singaporean sailors (Jillian Lee Sook Ying, Ryan Lo Jun Han, Elisa Yukie Yokoyama) being tied for first place after the initial races.

There is an intriguing race tracker of Browne's performance here


The results sheet from Napier showing Ireland's top result from Sophie Browne

Singaporean Sailor Jillian Lee Sook Ying, established a commanding lead during her first race.

The first kiwi sailor is Leonard Takahashi-Fry who is placed 23rd after the first race with other New Zealand sailors being Isaac McHardie 37th, Markus Sommerville 40th, William McKenzie 70th and Nathaniel Deverell 76th.

Two of the three second races were started but at 16.48 (4.48pm) racing was cancelled and competitors returned to shore due to a dying breeze and significant swings in wind direction.

The weather for tomorrow is expected to deliver southerly breezes starting at 12 knots and building during the day. The first races are scheduled to start at 10.25am tomorrow.

Published in Optimist

#OPTIWORLDS – Irish Youth Sailor Sophie Browne of Tralee Bay SC and the Royal Cork YC has settled into her pre Optimist World Championships training regime at Napier Sailing Club on the beautiful Hawke's Bay on the East coast of New Zealand's North Island.

Having recovered from the long journey to the event and the jet lag, the 14 year old Kerry sailor has already shown some continuing form, following her top girl prize and 4th place overall at the Trofeo Ciutat de Palma in early December.

Sophie has finished The Pre Worlds Harken Invitational Optimist Regatta, at Napier Sailing Club, New Zealand taking 21st place overall from 214 starters representing 33 different countries from all over the World in yesterday's final rounds of the Harken Invitational Regatta at Napier, New Zealand.

The Optimist World Championships start tomorrow at the same venue. The sole Irish representative at the event, Sophie Browne, is among a very strong female line up for the start of tomorrow's Optimist World Championships which include, 4 very strong girls from Singapore who have shown good form and have performed well at the pre World's training event, a girl from the Dominican Republic, Justina Pacheco, who has also been very well regarded in the lead up to the World's and several other girls who may well dominate at this year's Worlds.

The invitational Harken Regatta which precedes the Worlds as a training event, at which the top New Zealand Optimist Sailors including Leonard Takahashi-Fry turned up to have a crack at the best Optimist Sailors from all over the World, got off to a challenging start for many of the lighter international sailors competing when the Race Officer set four races starting in 10 knots of breeze which shifted 90 degrees and built to 15 – 20 knots, with a nasty lumpy sea, before shifting back.

Sophie's experience from the Atlantic coast of County Kerry stood to her as she secured 4 top ten results out of the large fleet on the first day and at the conclusion of the Pre Worlds event finished 21st overall out of 214 boats participating.

Many teams have used the Invitational Regatta as a way to acclimatise their sailors to New Zealand sailing conditions on Hawkes Bay and the challenges of racing within a large fleet format where more than 200 boats were competing within a fairly tight area.

Francisco Ducasse from Chile was the overall leader after the first four races at the end of the first day and ended up 6th overall at the end of the two day event, while the Singapore girl Kimberly Lim was overall winner with her team mate Ryan Lo in second place and the Brazilian Rodrigo Luz in the third place on the podium. Justina Pacheco from the Dominican Republic finished 10th overall at the pre World's event

Sophie Browne was pleased with her performance ending in 21st place overall out of 214 boats in her training event in advance of the World Championships.

She will carry the Irish Flag at the opening ceremony in Napier tomorrow.

Published in Optimist

#OPTI – In a further boost for Irish Optimist hopes at this year's world championships, Kerry's 14-year old Sophie Browne finished in the important top quarter of the pre-worlds event, taking 21st from 214 starters in today's final rounds of the Harken Invitational Regatta at Napier, New Zealand (See promo video below). The world championships start tomorrow at the same venue.

Browne, the sole Irish contender is among a strong female line up for the start of tomorrow's Optimist World Championships. The invitational Harken regatta precdes the worlds and it got off to a challenging start for many international sailors competing.

Many teams have used the Invitational Regatta as a way to acclimatise their sailors to New Zealand sailing conditions and the challenges of racing within a large fleet format where more than 200 boats were competing within a fairly tight area.

After a slight delayed start due the last minute sign up from a large number of sailors, the weather was perfect for a good day sailing, between 8 - 10 knots sea breeze. After race 2 the wind picked up to 15 - 18 knots, as predicted, and made some rough sailing.

214 sailors from 33 different countries headed out to sea this morning, all keen to get into it.

Provisional results show that the only male in Team Singapore won the first race. The second race was won by Chilean girl Franasco Ducasse and the third race was won by American sailor Marshall William who finished first in the last race with Chilean girl Franasco Ducasse the overall leader after four races.

The sailor holding the second position overall is another female, Justina Pacheco from the Dominican Republic.

Published in Optimist

The latest major sponsor to confirm its involvement with the Optimist sailing Worlds in New Zealand is Vodafone and the result promises to be a major leap forward for spectatorship of dinghy racing.

Tralee's Sophie Browne will compete for Ireland at the Christmas regatta down under.

The giant of the communications market will be making a significant investment in equipment and systems for the world championship youth sailing event, including Live Streaming of all races and mark roundings, which will be broadcast to spectators at the clubhouse and online.

"Vodafone's support will enable us to take dinghy yacht racing to a very sophisticated level for the absent viewer," says spokesperson Peter Dawson. "41 countries are now officially entered so this opens the door for great exposure for sponsors and to showcase New Zealand in terms of tourism."

The Big Red Vodafone Truck will also be onsite at Napier Sailing Club, as a place where locals and visitors can experiment with new technology, and purchase phones and top-up cards.

In addition to providing Mobile 3G capacity to facilitate the live streaming of race footage, Vodafone are also supplying 300 SIM Cards  and data plans to enable GPS tracking of every Optimist on the race course and at all marks.

"This is going to make a real showcase of youth yachting and a great display of our capability to hold international yachting regattas and make them visible to the World," says Peter Dawson.

Greg Campbell, Vodafone Chief Marketing Officer, adds, "We are delighted to support the teams on land and in the water with our powerful network coverage and reliable products.  We understand the importance on tracking the team's performance and how hungry fans are to get close to the action."

New Zealand has a history of proud success at this event: in 2007 Chris Steele won the event outright, and Alex Maloney was the top girl and third place overall, while New Zealand took the prize for top team.

Noppakao Poonpat from Thailand is the current reigning World Champion, and top girl claiming her victories in Langkawi earlier this year.

The Opti Worlds programme commences on 20 December with a four day sailing clinic, and an invitation regatta for all internationals and 100 of the top New Zealand Optimist sailors, runs on 28 and 29 December. There will be a welcoming ceremony and registration event, and Championship Races will run from 1 January - 9 January 2012.

For the many families who will be away from home for the holiday season, Christmas Day will be celebrated at Eskdale Reserve, a beautiful Riverpark in the Hawke's Bay.

As well as Vodafone, the 2011 Opti Worlds NZ is supported by New Zealand Major Events, Hawke's Bay Tourism, Tourism New Zealand, SPARC, The Radio Network,  EuroCity Cars, and the City of Napier. Website design has been provided by Catalyst, and other supporters include, the Victoria Cruising Club, and Air New Zealand.

Opti Worlds Vital Stats:

30 December 2011 - 9 January 2012

The Facebook page:

Published in Optimist
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There has been a call for the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) to take a lead in the big decisions that face youth sailors on what classes to sail to after they leave the ranks of the Optimist, Topper and Feva classes. The call comes from a leading junior organiser who does not wish to be named.

Although youth sailing is buoyant in Ireland it is known there is a 'high attrition rate' among teenagers. The lack of transfer in to senior dinghy classes has been a cause of concern for many clubs around the country.

The comments follow a recently published  article on promoting the RS 200 dinghy as a progression boat for juniors.

"We need a class that will keep youths engaged. The 420 and 29er are great boats but require higher levels of boathandling, are much more competitive and tend to attract the top sailors"

"While the ISA's Olympic ambitions are great to see, it will fail the sport as a whole if it does not tackle this gaping need, the organiser says.

Read the RS 200 article by Ciara Byrne and the junior organiser's comments here

Published in Youth Sailing
Sign up for this mornung's e-bulletin (see past editions here) for all the weekend's Irish sailing news, pics and results straight to your inbox.

This morning's edition includes photos and pics from Sunday's Figaro departure from Dun Laoghaire and the Rick Tomlinson's pics of the start of the Fastnet race from Cowes. Derry-Londonderry is on her way to Rio in the Clipper race. Regrettably there was no Gold, Silver or Bronze from Weymouth but we're in a strong position. See our video with Annalise here. Plus: The Topper Worlds at the National YC, John Lavery's win at the Flying fifteen South coast champs in Dunmore East, the J24 Nationals from Lough Erne, A local pair whitewashed the RS Feva Nationals in Cork Harbour, some great shots from Bob Bateman. The Oppy Nationals start in Howth and Afloat's Sailor of the Month for July Martin Byrne retained the Dragon Nationals in Kinsale. There's also the full weekend results from Dublin Bay SC.

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Published in Racing
Sign up for Monday's Afloat e-bulletin (see past editions here) for all this weekend's Irish sailing news, pics and results straight to your inbox.

Monday's edition includes photos and pics from Sunday's Figaro departure from Dun Laoghaire and the start of the Fastnet race from Cowes. Will it be Gold, Silver or Bronze from Weymouth? How will Peter, David and Annalise end up at the Pre-Olympics? Plus: The Topper Worlds at the National YC, Flying fifteen South coast champs in Dunmore East, the J24 Nationals from Lough Erne, Teens battle for the RS Feva Nationals in Cork Harbour,  the Cove People's Regatta, The Oppy Nationals at Howth and the Dragon Nationals from Kinsale. There's also the full results from Dublin Bay SC and Howth.

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Published in Racing
Page 22 of 26

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)


Who is Your Sailor of the Year 2020?
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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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