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Sailors arrived for day four of the 2011 Sovereign Ski Topper World Championship at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire to a flat sea and no wind writes Phil Harland. With increasing cloud cover there was no sea breeze forecast in the bay and so sailors prepared to wait on shore whilst the Race Committee went out on the water to check conditions.
Just before 11:00am the PRO decided to release the fleet from the shore to see what could be made of the light winds on the water. With the same efficiency as previous days all sailors were afloat within 30 minutes and making their way out of the harbour.
The Gold Fleet was the first to assemble on the start line and after an initial recall were clear away. Silver fleet were next but with light breeze and tide there was another general recall before they got away with George Haynes (GBR) port tacking the fleet.


As Bronze went into sequence some newcomers joined in – a school of dolphins – all very friendly, swimming between the boats and jumping out of the water and swimming up the beat with the fleets. So keen were the dolphins to join in that the Bronze fleet start had to be delayed as they dolphins played around the boats on the line. Eventually Bronze fleet got away with a clean start - with the dolphins following them up the beat!
The wind conditions were proving particularly fickle for all the fleets with 45 degree wind shifts and pressure switching from one side of the course to the other leaving sailors who were doing well one minute dropping back down the fleet the next. Hunting pressure was the order of the day.
Fleet winners for the first race of the day were: Gold – Tim Brow (IRL); Silver – Olly Guess (GBR); Bronze – Peter Queally (IRL).
At 13:15 Gold fleet went into sequence for Race 2, but it was another general recall, followed by a clean start second time around. With the wind dropping further, but the chop remaining this was making sailing upwind very difficult. Silver fleet achieved a clean start followed by Bronze fleet, who started Race 2 as soon as they completed Race 1.

With the wind dying further, the Gold and Silver fleets both finished together – and a few dolphins re-appeared to join the fleets. Fleet winners for the second race of the day were: Gold – Matt Venables (GBR); Silver – Samantha Foster (GBR); Bronze – Niamh Doran (IRL).
The PRO tried to get in a third race, but with the wind now almost non-existent decided to send the fleets ashore in the hope of some better wind tomorrow.
With the challenging conditions, results were somewhat topsy-turvy across the fleets, but overnight leaders were: Gold – Matt Venables (GBR) and now with a 22 point lead over the nearest competitor; Silver – Joe Henderson (GBR); Bronze – Thomas Moore (IRL).
The winds forecast for the last day of the event look better and so the Race Committee decided that they would try and go for three races on Friday instead of the planned two, and so have instructed the fleets that will be launching an hour earlier than scheduled.

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The 173 strong fleet of youth sailors at the Sovereign Ski Topper World Championships produced some surprises on the first day of the finals on Dublin Bay. Having dominated the qualifying series this week, Matt Venables of Sutton YC (UK) found himself edged out somewhat in the Gold fleet, managing two 4ths in the first two finals.


Toppers prepare for a race start. More photos from Gareth Craig on the gallery here.

Ireland's Patrick Crosbie (RCYC) grabbed the first win of the day, just ahead of Laura Gilmore of Northern Ireland, with Gilmore winning race 2 ahead of Britain's Danielle Rowe. It was a strong performance from young Crosbie, named by the ISA earlier this year as Ireland's most promising youth sailor, in his first year of racing toppers.

Newcastle's Joe Henderson dominated in the Silver Fleet finals, taking two strong wins. "I got good starts and played the tide", said the 13year old with ambitions to become a round-the-world racer, adding "it was a nice wind, with light chop but not too much hiking". Once again the girls performed strongly, with Britain's Samantha Foster and Ireland's Alison Dolan both taking 2nd places.

In Bronze fleet Conrad Parkinson of Northern Ireland really upset the form book, having sprung from a best of 22nd in this week's qualifiers to score victories in both of todays races. Ireland's Thomas Moore scored two seconds, with Patrick Butler nabbing a third in the first race. The happy face of Youngwan Kim said it all, as he took a third for Korea in race 2, clearly none the worse for jet lag!

After waiting 2 hours for a sea breeze to settle in, Principle Race Officer Con Murphy ran three races for gold, and two each for silver and bronze in a steady 10kts of wind. "we expect light airs and rain tomorrow for the second day of the finals" said Murphy, adding strong winds are expected on Friday, giving testing conditions to these young sailors. Day 3 Results here.

Below event photos by Michael Chester.
















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With just three days racing to go before Friday's final race in the Sovereign Ski Topper World Championship at the National Yacht Club, the event is shaping up to be a battle royale. The Qualifying races are over and the 166 boats have been split into bronze, silver and gold fleets - with the first of eight final races being run this (Wednesday) morning.


The start of Race 4 on the 16th August of the Sovereign Ski Topper World Championships

Race Chairperson Margaret Kneafsey is expecting close competitive racing from some of the world's best young sailors.

"Any one of a dozen sailors can win. The two Venables brothers from Sutton YC (UK) are on the UK National squad while Giles Kuzyk won the UK Nationals earlier in the month and so one can expect them to be up near the front". Irish sailors such as Finn Lynch will also be bidding for overall honours. The presence of the Korean squad has raised a lot of positive interest. The reason for their presence is because the Korean National Sailing Assoc. has adopted the same Pathway structure as the Irish Sailing Assoc. – with the Topper being an essential step on the ladder to the top.

Seven races are expected to be run before the finale on Friday afternoon but the lights airs forecast for today (Wed) and tomorrow may impact the race numbers. The forecast for Friday is increasing breeze, setting the scene for a trilling days racing before the 2011 Sovereign Ski Topper World Champion emerges.

Day 2 Results can be found here.

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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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Just 8 hours after National Yacht Club Commodore Paul Barrington bade farewell to the 47 brave Solitaire sailors starting their gruelling 420 mile sail back to France, he was raising the curtain on the Sovereign Ski Topper World Championship – one of the world's big sailing event for the professional sailors of the future.
The Figaro stopover was a great success – capturing the imagination of the visitors, the town and the thousands of locals who visited the ships, shops, and fireworks attached to the event.
The tight changeover from Figaro to Toppers was a challenge to the National Yacht Club organizing committee – but there were some great benefits as event Chairman Margaret Kneafsey explained:
" Friday night there was a wonderful fireworks display and festivities put on by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council – but by 7am on Saturday morning the marquee was cleared and taken down so the Topper competitors could take up their places. It has been very inspiring for the young sailors (all under 18) to see the professionalism of the Figaro race and the exciting lives professional sailors can lead."
Margaret and her large team of volunteers have been delighted to have 180 entries including the five young sailors who have travelled from Korea and sampled Dublin Bay waters for the first time yesterday ( Sunday) .
"It has given them some flavour for the currents and tides in Dublin bay, before the start of the qualifying races for the championship finals which will start today ( Monday)" said Margaret.
Today's ( Monday) qualifying races will be a an amazing blaze of colour across Dublin Bay with all 180 boats lining up for 3 races. Following the same tomorrow the fleet will split in silver and gold fleets and continue the white heat of final competition for 3 days and 8 races until World Champion emerges on Friday afternoon.

Published in Topper
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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Strangford's Laura Gilmore lead going into the last day but had a tough time in the strong conditions however she persevered to finish a credible sixth and first Girl, a great achievement. The other Irish persevered in the conditions and all to their credit finished all the races without gear failure. The most notable charge up the leader board came from Tim Brow with a great day, finishing 15th, 8th 2nd in last race, with great speed but big line starts may require more work.

That concludes the British Nationals, now the class look forward to the Topper Worlds Championships held by the National YC, Dun Laoghaire from the 14-19 August.

Final Irish Results:

Laura Gilmore 6th
Timothy Brow 17th
Jack Brien 19th
Dougie Power 25th
Craig Campbell 26th
Erica Ruigrok 60th
Andrew Penney 72nd
Conor O'Farrell 73th
Sorcha Donnelly 79th
Tom Purdon 86th

Aisling Keller 5th
Kevin Harrington 40th
Suzanne Flannigan 46th

See here for full results.

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On the eve of the Word Championships on Dublin Bay an Irish Sailor leads the Topper British National Championships in Scotland.

Laura Gilmore, from Strangford Lough, who has already won the Ulster Championships now leads the top British event going into the last race today.

On Tuesday which was Day 3 of the Championship, the heavens opened up in Scotland. A mammoth amount of rain fell, which coupled with no wind i.e. 1 knot gusting, meant that no races were completed.

With only two races completed the qualification series was extended to Day 4. It was a more promising day with much less cloud cover giving signs a light  sea breeze could later develop.

Eventually after much wind speed up and down and moving the course inland to escape the massive tide (sometimes up to 2 knots or more), the wind stabilised to 5-6 knots at about 4pm.

The PRO was under pressure to get races in and as time got later and the fleet behaved more and more badly the races were confined to 1 lap, just 20 minutes per race. Not ideal for a National Championship but such was the nature of this week so far.

The breeze did pick up to 12 even 13 knots at times with the tide playing a huge roll for numerous black flags through the day. Up to 80 sailors were penalised over the two races from the day as the tide pushed the fleet over the line time and time again.

The Irish results were much better and after the discard all Irish sailors have made Gold and Silver Fleets with just two in the minor. Laura Gilmore with two more bullets took the overall lead in the championship. The 3rd race of the day was cancelled for safety reasons due to a deep fog approaching and the fleet returned ashore at 7pm.

Results and Final Fleets:

Laura Gilmore 1st
Craig Campbell 16th
Dougie Power 19th
Jack Brien 36th
Timothy Brow 51st
Andrew Penney 56th
Erica Ruigrok 68th
Tom Purdon 69th
Sorcha Donnelly 78th
Conor O'Farrell 89th
Aisling Keller 91st

Kevin Harrington 100th
Suzanne Flannigan 127th

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Strangford's Laura Gilmore won this weekend's Topper Ulsters sailing championships, which was hosted by Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club. Scroll down for event photos. Fifty boats took part in the two-day provincial sailing championships, with six races taking place over Saturday and Sunday.

Tim Brow from Ballyhome Yacht Club came second overall while Craig Campbell from the Cultra-based Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club finished in third place.

Laura Gilmore won three of the six races, also recording a second and third place finish.


Event winner Laura Gilmore from Strangford Lough Yacht Club at the Topper Ulsters sailing championships, which were held in Cushendall last weekend. Photo: Tim Hopkins. Scroll down for more photos by Tim.

Ellen McCarlie from Whitehead's County Antrim Yacht Club came first in the reduced rig 4.2 division.

Seven members of Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club took part in the races, with Owen McKinley finishing at the top of the local fleet.

Competitors from 14 clubs across the country entered the event.

Club Commodore John Lowry said: "It was great to have so many sailors competing in Red Bay this weekend. We had a mix of weather conditions and I am glad that so many competitors and their families travelled to the Glens for our event.

"As Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club celebrates its 50th anniversary, we have a full calendar of sailing and social events throughout the year. Later in 2011 Cushendall will host the national RS200 and RS400 championships and the regional East Coast championships for the Flying 15 class. We are really looking forward to a summer packed full of great sailing events. And we look forward to welcoming hundreds more visitors to Cushendall and to our club."

Cushendall Sailing and Boating Club was established in 1960 and is today a busy sailing hub on the North Antrim Coast. It provides competitive sailing facilities, races for both cruising yachts and sailing dinghies and a popular summer sailing school. It also has active rowing, sea angling and motorboating sections.
Since 1998 sailors from the club have competed at provincial and national Topper and Laser class competitions as well as other open events. Cushendall sailors have won the Northern Ireland Youth Championships, the Irish Topper championship and Irish team titles.

CSBC has hosted Optimist and Topper regional championships, the Irish Topper Championships and the Skydome Topper World Championships in 2000. Other classes of boats sailing at the club include: Flying Fifteen, Laser, Pico, Buzz, Laser 2000 and RS400.

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Despite gale force winds Cullaun Sailing Club was in celebratory mood at its open day on Sunday 8th May. The club based in Kilkishen, Co Clare, had the launch of its fleet of Topper Omegas and blessing of the boats to mark the transition from spring sailing to summer sailing. It was an opportunity for the club to thank the many people who have helped it achieve Leader funding from Clare Local Development Company to purchase the boats and rescue equipment. The club realised that the purchase of boats was a barrier to many people developing an interest in sailing. So with the encouragement of Mike Hogan from Kilkishen Community development association and PJ Hogan from Clare Co. County Council the club put forward an application for leader funding to purchase boats for training purposes. The club received much support from Gloria Callinan in CLDC, Siobhan King in Shannon Development, John Sweeney in Clare Sports Partnership and Denis Dillion of the Irish Sailing Association in its application. Many of whom were on hand to celebrate the Launch.

The club was particularly happy to form links with Sean Hehir of Kilkishen National School and to extend sailing to the children of the area. The club is having an introductory sailing weekend for the senior classes of the school on 11/12th of June and many of the children will be attending the junior sailing course from 4th to 15th July. The adult introductory weekend is scheduled for the 28th/29th of May and already has much interest from the local area and further afield. The advantage of the new fleet means that people can start to sail with only a track suit and runners, allowing greater access to sailing from within the local community.

Father Hugh O'Dowd and Rev. Bob Hanna lead the members and public in a lovely reflection and reading to bless the club and boats for the year. As the weather was too wild for sailing, it was a chance to eat cake, to welcome new members and to chat to people interested in sailing. Club racing will continue on Thursday nights for the summer and novice sailing will commence on Sunday mornings in June. The clubs web site has a list of forth coming events and may be used to contact the committee.

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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 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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