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Displaying items by tag: Fintan Cairns

Fintan Cairns of Dun Laoghaire is disarmingly modest about his many achievements in cruiser-racing organisation, based as they are on his extensive experience as an active sailor, his own innovations, and his readiness to acknowledge when he has taken an idea from other centres and adopts it to suit Dublin Bay’s needs. November would not normally be the month of sailing choice for many top boats.

Yet when Fintan Cairns introduced his DBSC Turkey Shoot series to provide seven successive Sunday mornings of brisk racing between late October and mid-December, his own determination to get out there in the Committee Boat and set an interesting course provided inspirational sailing leadership which, towards the end of 2018, saw 78 boats of top quality getting some of the best racing of the year.

Published in Turkey Shoot

Sailing forums have seen exchanges in recent days about the relative global coverage of the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s (RORC) measurement system - the International Rating Certificate (IRC) - and the Offshore Racing Congress’s (ORC) Offshore Rating Certificate.

Dobbs Davis (US), the Chairman of the ORC’s Promotions & Development Committee, and Zoran Grubisa (Croatia), who heads the organisation’s Rating Officer Committee, were in Limerick three weeks ago at the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA) Annual Conference to make a presentation about their measurement organisation, its methods systems, and its level of world coverage. 

This made available yet another fascinating nugget of top-level information for a wide-ranging conference which reflected the considerable influence the ICRA model has in international racing for boats with lids. And at the same time it ensured a good turnout to applaud the ICRA Boat of the Year title going to George Sisk’s WOW from Dun Laoghaire, and to witness the transfer of the role of ICRA Commodore from Nobby Reilly of Howth to Simon McGibney of Foynes. It’s the first time that ICRA has had a Commodore from the western seaboard since its foundation by Fintan Cairns of Dun Laoghaire and the late Jim Donegan of Cork in 2002.

Afloat.ie’s W M Nixon was in Limerick to take the pulse of this unique body, and his commentary in Sailing on Saturday of 12th March ruffled more than a few feathers, and greatly heightened interest in the RORC’s global programme, which has its European section swinging into action this weekend with the Easter Challenge on the Solent.

Who knows, but some time in the future it may be that Rory Staunton of Mayo Sailing Club will be remembered as the man who finally got the IRC and the ORC to get together by crisply pointing out - at the end of Dobbs Davis’s presentation to the ICRA conference - that as far as ordinary sailors were concerned, when IRC and ORC were both used in one event, the results often seemed very comparable. And while it was no harm some times to have two sets of winners (and even more if you include ICRA’s own Progressive ECHO system), at the top international level it only makes sense to Joe Public to have one undisputed winner in each class.

For the world promotion of offshore racing, the optics would surely be much better if everyone was racing to the same rating system? But it will take a while yet to reach this happy situation, for at the moment the ORC and the IRC appear to be in active competition, and regular visitors to the Afloat.ie website will be well aware that some very powerful voices have weighed in on the RORC/IRC side recently, going so far as to question the accuracy of the fleet numbers made in some ORC claims, and pointing to the IRC’s current areas of rapid expansion in southeast Asia and other regions.

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Neil Pryde’s characterful Welbourn 52 Hi Fi won the Rolex RORC China Sea Race in 2012 and 2014

But actions speak louder than words, and this week sees the RORC hyper-busy in the Pacific with the biennial Rolex China Sea Race of 595 miles from Hong Kong to Manila in the Philippines, while on the eastern fringes of the Atlantic in the Solent at Cowes, there’s the annual Easter Challenge, an event with an approved integral training emphasis, as top coach Jim Saltonstall and his team will be buzzing through the fleet in their RIBs giving advice to those who have sought it.

With the Easter weekend’s all-too-evident weather deterioration in progress, it’s likely that yesterday will have given the fleet of fifty or so their pleasantest sailing conditions. But with the RORC secretariat decamped for the long weekend from world headquarters in St James’s in London to the club’s waterfront base in the Royal Corinthian YC in Cowes, a sense of being able to go home at the end of a hard day’s racing will ease the harshness of the conditions.

On the other hand, the fact that the RORC now has a bricks-and-mortar Cowes base in what was once the legendary Rosa Lewis’s “seaside cottage” will provide ammunition for those who would claim that the RORC, and the IRC with it, have essentially become a Solent-centric setup. Thus the fact that the Rolex China Sea Race under the RORC imprimatur is taking place at the same time is very helpful indeed for those who would promote IRC as the world’s measurement system.

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The nice little place by the seaside…..The Royal Corinthian YC in Cowes – a byword for hospitality – is now the RORC’s Solent base

In times past, leading Irish skippers with a Hong Kong base such as Paul Winkelmann and Jamie McWilliam have featured in the China Sea Race, for it has a history as a biennial event going back to 1962, when three yachts – one each from Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan – raced this decidedly disputed bit of water. The situation was such that a naval vessel from Hong Kong accompanied them for the first two hundred miles, and then a hundred miles out from Manila, they were met by a ship from the Philipinnes navy.

The line honours and handicap winner was Chris von Sydow’s yawl Reverie, one of those classic American-style yawls of the Finisterre type which were being widely built in the region at the time, mostly for export. They were guaranteed as teak through and through, for as one sardonic observer put it, the wonderwood was so abundant out there in those days that if the team in the boatyard felt like a brew-up of tea, they’d boil their kettle on a little fire made with teak kindling.

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The winner of the first China Sea Race in 1962 was Chris von Sydow’s yawl Reverie

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A trophy to match. Only a race right across the China Sea would merit a prize like this

Reverie’s time was four days 11 hours and 29 minutes, and she got the very distinctive China Sea Trophy, which is of such a style it just couldn’t be the prize for any other major offshore race. Gradually the numbers built up as it became an established biennial event, in 1972 the RORC came aboard as partners, and it hasn’t looked back since. There’s been some spectacular sailings, the record being set in 2000 by Karl Kwok’s Open 60 Beau Geste, which cracked the two day barrier by coming in on 47 hours and 43 minutes, just 17 minutes maybe, but it was 17 minutes the right way.

The races of 2012 and 2014 were won by Neil Pryde’s rather special Hugh Welbourn-designed 52 footer Hi Fi, but she’s not in this year’s fleet which got under way on Wednesday and has the front runners well in already, though only after a start in miserable conditions which improved in terms of sailing power to have a 28-knot nor’easter building in a monsoon. This made the going good the further you were down the course, but yesterday the little fellows at the tail end were taking a bit of a pasting.

Line honours were taken yesterday (Friday) evening by Australian Philip Turner’s Reichel Pugh 66 Alive, which covered 244 nm in the final 24 hours to set a new course record, though just 11 minutes inside Beau Geste’s remarkable 2000 time – who’d have thought it would stand for sixteen years? Overall on handicap, Alive currently also has it every which way, but things are also looking good for the Ker 42 Black Baza (Anthony Root).

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Cutting it close. Anthony O’Leary’s Antix in a neat-enough port-and-starboard situation with the even newer Ker 40 Invictus

Conditions in Manila may not be idyllic, but at least they’re a bit warmer than the Solent this morning with a succession of fronts set to sweep through for much of he remainder of the Easter Holiday. Irish interest is high as Anthony O’Leary’s Munster-red Ker 40 Antix is defending champion, and the skipper was in fine form in Thursday as he outlined prospects and talked us through some of the usual suspects who will be sailing on this very attractive boat.

Following his accident while racing Antix in ferocious conditions last July, it’s great news that Dylan Gannon of Howth is back on the strength, along with his shipmate Ross MacDonald who had a truly prodigious season in 2015, playing a leading role in crewing Antix while at the same time campaigning his family’s veteran X332 Equinox to such good effect that he was top boat at the ICRA Nats in Kinsale.

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Back on the strength. Dylan Gannon (left) and Ross MacDonald are both sailing on Antix his weekend. Photo: W M Nixon

Two new additions to the Antix strength are Will Byrne from Howth, who was recently making the scene with Half Ton Classics World Champion Dave Cullen and the gang in the C & C 30 championship in Florida in January, and young Cian Guilfoyle from the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire, who leapt to fame as the third man aboard the J/80 when Anthony O’Leary retained the Helmsman’s Championship of Ireland by a considerable margin at the NYC in October, with longtime shipmate Dan O’Grady the man in the middle.

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Cian Guilfoyle maximising his righting moment while crewing for Anthony O’Leary in the victory in the Helmsmans Championship, October 2015. Photo: David O’Brien

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Winning team. Cian Guilfoyle, Dan O’Grady and Anthony O’Leary in the NYC after winning the Helmsmans Championshjp 2015. This weekend, Guilfoyle has joined the crew of Antix. Photo: W M Nixon

The other top Irish contender in the RORC Easter Challenge is also from Cork, Conor Phelan’s Ker 36 (or is she a 37) Jump Juice of 2008 vintage. This makes her something of a veteran but she’s by no means the oldest boat competing, as one doughty skipper has turned up with a Mumm 36, which is like a bit of living history. Yet she’s in with as much of a shout as anyone else if the IRC is doing its work properly, which seems to be where we came in…….

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Back in the day…….the new Ker 36 Jump Juice makes her debut in 2008

But we cannot depart without musing on the makeup of this year’s Brewin Dolphin Commodore’s Cup team which will be defending for Ireland. As other people get agitated about the lack of heads above the parapet to indicate the beginnings of a buildup, Anthony O’Leary is reassuringly philosophical about the whole business.

He is of course very much up for it with Antix, and he’s well aware that there’s another good possibility with RORC Commodore Michael Boyd (Royal Irish YC) in line to be campaigning the works JPK 1080 as the season gets going, and of course the JPK 1080 is the boat du jour. As for a third boat, if Jump Juice is reluctant to make the commitment, they’ll be on the lookout for a boat rating 1.049 or above.

But it’s early days yet. As O’Leary recalls with quiet amusement, in assembling the 2014 team from scratch and the non-defence of 2012, he refused to let himself think that the new Ker 40 Catapult was a certainty until he actually saw her unloaded from a ship from America onto a quayside in Europe.

Yet she arrived on time. But it was the Steady Eddy of the team, the Grand Soleile 43 Quokka 8, which ended up causing the most concern. Her charter had been firmly in place since November 2013, but then there came a complete foul-up with delivery schedules back from campaigning in the Caribbean. It was more than a rush to have Quokka race ready for the preliminary jousting in Volvo Cork Week in July 2014. But not to worry. She ended up as champion in Cork Week, and made a solid contribution to the Commodore’s Cup win in which Catapult (which has since become Antix) was top-scoring individual boat.

Published in W M Nixon

#commodorescup –  The two managers behind both of Ireland's Commodore's Cup victories have 'stepped down' from the job, an executive meeting of the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA) heard last month. A successor for both Barry Rose of Royal Cork YC and Fintan Cairns of the Royal Irish YC is being sought by the cruiser–racer body to defend the international title next season on the Solent. The midlands meeting heard ICRA's shore management performed 'a very important role as a focal point and coordinator for the whole team process' .

It was imperative, according to the meeting, chaired by Howth YC's Nobby Reilly, that ICRA would continue to perform that role in the future. The Portlaoise gathering of April 20th also heard of the necessity to start the process of 'achieving team or team selection' to challenge in 2016. The quest for team sponsorship also needs to be underway.

Separately, Royal Cork's Commodore's Cup team captain Anthony O'Leary has told Afloat.ie of his 'fervent hope'  to be involved with the 2016 defence of the Cup that he has won twice. However, his Ker 39, Antix has been sold to Sweden and this year O'Leary and his Antix crew are campaigning offshore in the renamed Ker 40, Catapult. They take in RORC's Myth Of Malham this week before June's Dun Laoghaire to Dingle race. They're both warm–up races for the season's big one in August, the sell–out Fastnet race.

The 2016 Commodore's Cup changes will see the reintroduction of a small boat for the team competition next year it  has also been announced. The Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) has agreed to a number of changes that they say will have 'a positive impact' on the number of teams taking part in the event held at Cowes, Isle of Wight between 23 and 30 July 2016.

The first is the requirement of every team to have a small boat with a rating between 1.000 and 1.049. 'Many teams in the last event believed that it was hard to be competitive without having three boats that were close to the top of the allowable rating band, as was the case of last year's winning Irish team,' said RORC CEO, Eddie Warden Owen.

As the Irish Times Sailing Column reports, lowering the rating band to 1.000 will make it easier for J109s to enter, to include boats like the JPK10.10, A35 and the new Sunfast 3200, and reduce the cost of competing.

Read also: How Ireland won the Commodore's Cup and Anthony O'Leary, Sailor of the Year

Published in ICRA

The possibility of an Open 40 entry plus a new white sail division are just some of the developments for the tenth Dingle Skellig Hotel Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race. Over 50 (SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CHESTER) gathered at the National YC in Dun Laoghaire last night to hear local TD and the Minister for Sport, Tourism and Culture Mary Hanafin give a ringing endorsement for the unique 320-mile offshore race when it sets sail on June 11th. A notice of race and entry form is available for download below.

The last race attracted 39 entries and a course record was set by Michael Cotter's Whisper. This year organisers Martin Crotty and Brian Barry along with Dingle Harbour master Brian Farrell are confident that they will break the 40 boat barrier. They may well be right as the event has been specifically timed to bring Dublin boats to the south coast for ten days of racing at the ICRA Nationals in Cork Harbour and the Sovereigns Cup the following week in Kinsale.

The event is also benefitting from inclusion in this year's ISORA calendar.

Present last night were represntatives from the major Bay clubs, including Breda Dillon from Howth YC and Fintan Cains of ICRA. Peter Ryan of ISORA, who is also the National YC commodore spoke about plans to develop off shore sailing and the club's plans to welcome the international Figaro offshore fleet in August.

Solo sailor Mick Lidddy who is making a bid for an Irish entry into the race was also in attendance.

SCROLL DOWN FOR LAUNCH PHOTOS BY MICHAEL CHESTER

Afloat coverage of the 2009 Race is HERE

Published in Dun Laoghaire Dingle

In the three decades and more of the Mitsubishi Motors/Irish Independent "Sailing Club of the Year" assessments, there has never been an organization only seven years old winning the title.

In fact, seniority has often won the day, though in a country in which the oldest sailing clubs date from 1720 (Royal Cork) and 1770 (Lough Derg), it's difficult to find clubs and associations which are anything less than centenarians, let alone not yet in double figures.

But it was only as recently as June 2003 that the Irish Cruiser Racing Association came into being. It was at the biennial Sovereign's Cup series in Kinsale that Fintan Cairns of Dun Laoghaire, enthusiastically supported by the late Jim Donegan of Cork and other key personnel, successfully launched the idea of a nationwide organisation to co-ordinate the racing sport of "boats with lids".

At the time, it was a leap of vision. Having successfully headed Dublin Bay Sailing Club at a time of rapid growth, he was able to see the picture more clearly than those who reckoned that offshore racing organisations should be related to bodies of water rather than a land mass, for all that we're on an island.

Then too, the new association was envisaged as using established clubs and their facilities to stage its championship. In other words, the ICRA organising team would be the travelling people of the Irish sailing scene. On top of that, handicap competition with cruiser-racers was derided as "truck racing" by the white hot one design and dinghy sailors.

Yet the idea took hold, and the annual championship was successfully staged at venues as various as Crosshaven, Tralee, Howth, Kinsale and Dun Laoghaire, with Denis Kiely the essential ace number-cruncher in the back office. And in May 2010, with the mighty machine of the Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire providing the administrative centre, the Liebherr Irish Cruiser Nationals in Dublin Bay attracted a fleet of 117 boats, with great sailing.

On that event alone, ICRA would have been among the front runners for Club of the Year. But the best was yet to come. In recessionary times, getting a three boat team together to make a worthwhile challenge for the biennial Rolex International Commodore's Cup was a matter of making the best of limited resources. But ICRA – currently under the leadership of Barry Rose of Cork - was up to the job.

The team of Anthony O'Leary's Antix, Dave Dwyer's marinerscove.ie, and Rob Davis and Andrew Creighton's Roxy 6, had a convincing win. Thus ICRA in one season had catered very well for general run of boats and crews at home, and had come out tops at the top level internationally. It doesn't get better than that, and we salute them as Sailing Club of the Year 2011.

Published in ICRA

With 65 boats on the line last Sunday for the opening race of the Viking Marine Turkey Shoot there's little doubt about the appeal of year round sailing on Dublin Bay. In spite of this week's high winds last Sunday's opening race saw quite a few no finishers due to lack of wind. Handicaps have been adjusted as per the local rules that apply to the series for Sunday's second race. Arwen now goes in the second start and Windshift goes in the fourth start. Race officer Fintan Cairns says "Some boats will be suffering from nose-bleeds this week with the meteoric rise in their handicaps". The series is made possible through the support of Dublin Bay Sailing Club and sponsors Viking Marine, McWilliam One Sails, North Sails & O'Brien Press.

Last weeks results, Race handicaps and start details attached for download below.

Published in Turkey Shoot

MANY OF YOU SENT GOOD LUCK WISHES AND NOW YOU CAN SAY WELL DONE TOO! SCROLL DOWN THE PAGE TO LEAVE YOUR CONGRATULATION MESSAGE!

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The ICRA Team Celebrations in Cowes, Photo: David Branigan

 

After a series of near misses in the Commodores Cup, there are many reasons why 2010 was an entirely appropriate timing for an Irish win in Cowes today.

Ireland's single three boat team (below) faced stiff opposition in the final ten team line up. Individual performances this season though, including a win at the British IRC Nationals, is proof, were it needed, that Ireland still was always on course to win the Commodores Cup. 
Ireland's team on the Solent was Royal Cork based; Antix, Anthony O'Leary (Ker 39); Marinerscove.ie David Dwyer (Mills 39) and Roxy 6 Robert Davies (Corby 36). The full crew list for each boat is below, representing the very best of Irish sailing talent.
Third time lucky is how it was scripted in 08, but not how it was acted out. After first being jilted by the French and now, for the second time, by the English, the Irish could be forgiven for giving up on the cup but we never did. This victory represents the final week of eight months preparation for superb assault on the title.

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO THE END OF THE PAGE AND LEAVE YOUR CONGRATULATIONS MESSAGE!

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Team Ireland 2010 Commodores Cup

Photos by Robert Bateman

IRL3939 Antix Anthony O'Leary (Ker 39)

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Anthony O'Leary (IRL)

David Lenz (GBR)

Peter O'Leary (IRL)

Ross Deasy (IRL)

Brian Lennon (IRL)

Stephen O'Sullivan (IRL)

Eoin Leahy (IRL)

Frederick Cudmore (IRL)

Simon Johnson (IRL)

Rory O'Sullivan (IRL)

Jimmy Houston (GBR)

Derek Moynan (IRL)

Tom Durcan (IRL)

Robert O'Leary (IRL)

Darragh O'Connor (IRL)


IRL39000 Marinerscove.ie David Dwyer (Mills 39)

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Andy Beadsworth (GBR)

David Bolton (IRL)

Padraig Byrne (IRL)

Alan Curran (IRL)

David Dwyer (IRL)

Bernard Fitzpatrick (IRL)

Brian Heneghan (IRL)

David Love (IRL)

Tom Murphy (IRL)

Nicholas O'Leary (IRL)

Clive O'Shea (IRL)

Sandy Rimmington (IRL)

Chris Schirmer (GBR)

Don Wilson (IRL)


IRL36000 Roxy 6 Robert Davies (Corby 36)

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Rob Davies (GBR)

Andrew Creighton (IRL)

Marty O'Leary (IRL)

Jim Hughes (IRL)

Paul Farries (GBR)

Nelson Moore (IRL)

Tom Whitburn (GBR)

Michael Liddy (IRL)

Aidan O'Connell (IRL)

Maurice O'Connell (IRL)



Team Management:

Barry Rose, Fintan Cairns, Denis Kiely, Mike Broughton and Norbert Reilly

 


 

Published in Commodores Cup

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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