Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Top Irish Match Racers Prepare for National Yacht Club Hosted Championships 

2nd May 2024
Jamie McMahon, with a crew of Andrew Smith and Kate O'Connor, bested Micheal O’Suilleabhain and the crew of Michael Carroll and Mia Murphy for the student match racing national title in March
Jamie McMahon, with a crew of Andrew Smith and Kate O'Connor, bested Micheal O’Suilleabhain and the crew of Michael Carroll and Mia Murphy for the student match racing national title in March. The Irish Match Racing National Championships (IMRA) will be hosted National Yacht Club (NYC) in Dun Laoghaire on the 11th and 12th of May, 2024. Credit: Tadhg O’Braonain

Royal St. George's top Irish match racer, Tom Higgins, will confront March's Student Match Racing National Championships winner, Jamie McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, among others, when the National Yacht Club (NYC) hosts the Irish Match Racing National Championships (IMRA) at Dun Laoghaire on May 11th and 12th.

A lineup of skilled helms from across the country are already signed up for the event, which is billed as an important step towards growing match racing in Ireland.

Kinsale's Sam Hunt from Gladiators returns to Dun Laoghaire following his win in the inaugural Irish Sailing League a fortnight ago. 

As well as the locally based Higgins Racing team, there will be Dan Little of No Clew, Diana Kissane representing WMR, Oisin Cullen from Red Flag Racing, and Ruairi Finnegan of Craic'n Racing who competed in China in December at the World Match racing finals.

As regular Afloat readers will know, UCD ace Higgins has been on the match racing global circuit competing in the USA at the Governor's Cup last July and more recently in Australia at the International Youth Match Racing Championship.

Oisin Cullen, the recently elected IMRA Chairperson, expressed his excitement about the upcoming event, which will be sailed in NYC's Elliott 6m one-design keelboats: "This championship is not just a race; it's a significant step towards growing match racing in Ireland". Team

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About Match Racing

A match race is a race between two competitors, going head-to-head.

In yacht racing, it is differentiated from a fleet race, which almost always involves three or more competitors competing against each other, and team racing where teams consisting of 2, 3 or 4 boats compete together in a team race, with their results being combined.

A match race consists of two identical boats racing against each other. With effective boat handling and clever use of wind and currents, a trailing boat can escape the grasp of the leader and pass. The leader uses blocking techniques to hold the other boat back. This one-on-one duel is a game of strategy and tactics.

About the World Match Racing Tour

Founded in 2000, the World Match Racing Tour (WMRT) promotes the sport of match racing around the world and is the longest running global professional series in the sport of sailing. The WMRT is awarded ‘Special Event’ status by the sport’s world governing body – World Sailing – and the winner of the WMRT each year is crowned World Sailing Match Racing World Champion. Previous champions include Sir Ben Ainslie (GBR), Taylor Canfield (USA), Peter Gilmour (AUS), Magnus Holmberg (SWE), Peter Holmberg (ISV), Adam Minoprio (NZL), Torvar Mirsky (AUS), Bertrand Pace (FRA), Jesper Radich (DEN), Phil Robertson (NZL) and Ian Williams (GBR). Since 2000, the World Match Racing Tour and its events have awarded over USD23million in prize money to sailors which has helped to contribute to the career pathway of many of today’s professional sailors