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You might say it's unnatural. Normally at this time of year, we'll be talking of the evenings and the season closing in together to facilitate a gently easing pace. But last weekend in Cork, they seemed to have so many things going on at once it was sometimes difficult to tell where one began and another ended. Meanwhile, in Dublin, it was equally hectic with the ICRA Nats building to a climax at Dun Laoghaire with the National YC, while across Dublin Bay on the Howth peninsula, it was a flurry of activity at both Howth and Sutton.

Yet this weekend, if anything the Dublin events lineup is even more tightly packed. This morning the ISORA Pwllheli-Dun Laoghaire Race gets underway to reinforce the sense of gradually returning normality, even though the pandemic limitations have meant it's only the second cross-channel race of the 2021 season.

On the Howth peninsula meanwhile, today and tomorrow see the Sutton Dinghy Club GP14 Autumn Open and Youth Championship, while across the hill (newly inhabited by Old Irish Goats from Mayo) at Howth Harbour, the first race of the annual six weekends Beshoff Motors Autumn League comes into action, with the entry of 90-plus showing an encouraging increase of interest from other clubs along the Fingal coast as far north as Skerries.

The almost nonexistent entry input from the south side of Dublin Bay reflects the fact that the line of the Liffey and the Dublin Port shipping lane bisecting the bay constitute the Great Divide. The only southside entrant is Flor O'Driscoll's J/24 Hard on Port, and as a Corkman originally (Cobh to be precise), the great Flor would probably be indignant at being described as a Southsider, as he competes under the Bray Sailing Club colours, which puts him into an entirely different ethnic group.

Veteran skipper Flor O'Driscoll's vintage J/24 Hard on Port (Bray Sailing Club) is returning to Howth today for the first race of the six weekend Beshoff Motors Autumn League. Photo: AfloatVeteran skipper Flor O'Driscoll's vintage J/24 Hard on Port (Bray Sailing Club) is returning to Howth today for the first race of the six weekend Beshoff Motors Autumn League. Photo: Afloat.ie

You'd think today's action was enough for Howth, but tomorrow they've both their annual Junior Regatta and the visit by the three newly-restored Dublin Bay 21s which have been busy this week, as they raced on Thursday evening in the NYC's traditional end-of-season with Hal Sisk at the helm of Estelle winning, and last night they were manifesting their presence at the Royal Irish YC's 190th Anniversary Pursuit Race.

All this is going on while in both the Royal Cork YC in Crosshaven and HYC in Howth, the thoughts of those who think beyond the local horizon are with their teams in the New York Yacht Club Invitational Inter-Club Event being raced from this morning at Newport, Rhode Island in the red-hot Mark Mills-designed Melges ILC 37s, which constitutes a mighty challenge in themselves for newcomers to the event.

This hot ticket is not for the faint-hearted. The NYCC Invitational raced in Mark Mills-designed ILC 37s is notoriously competitive. In this photo, Royal Cork helmed by Anthony O'Leary is sail number 3, in prime positionThis hot ticket is not for the faint-hearted. The NYCC Invitational raced in Mark Mills-designed ILC 37s is notoriously competitive. In this photo, Royal Cork helmed by Anthony O'Leary is sail number 3, in prime position

For the Royal Cork team, with an impressive lineup of O'Learys, this is the seventh stab at the challenge. And in last year's first staging in the ILC 37s, they got the Bronze against 20 other clubs, so they start this morning as one of the favourites. But for the Howth squad led by Darren Wright, as they start for the first time in this decidedly stratospheric event, it already seems quite an achievement to have got there and passed all the tests, including a rigorous crew weigh-in.

With so much going on it takes an effort to think back even five days to the final overall results for the ICRA Nats, but as ever they provide something of a statistician and trend analyst's dream, for as one critical observer of the developing Irish sailing scene has trenchantly observed: NO CLASS WAS WON BY A BOAT STILL IN PRODUCTION.

Equally relevant is the other inescapable conclusion: ONLY TWO CLASSES WERE WON BY A BOAT REGISTERED AS SAILING FROM ONE OF IRELAND'S SIX FRONT LINE CLUBS.

And all for the honour of Rush Sailing Club…..Keeping a vintage J/109 in race-winning trim is not something to be undertaken lightly. Towards the end of Autumn each year, the Kelly's family's J/109 Storm disappears into their big shed in Lusk in the heart of Fingal. She reappears each Spring, immaculate after much family, crew and community effort. Photo: Afloat.ieAnd all for the honour of Rush Sailing Club…..Keeping a vintage J/109 in race-winning trim is not something to be undertaken lightly. Towards the end of Autumn each year, the Kelly's family's J/109 Storm disappears into their big shed in Lusk in the heart of Fingal. She reappears each Spring, immaculate after much family, crew and community effort. Photo: Afloat.ie

The habit of continually up-dating an older boat to keep her competitive under IRC is a quintessentially Irish thing, and our long history of sailing means that our concept of "old" in boats is different from the rest of the world. And the fact that we're discovering that quality fibreglass construction seems to have an almost unlimited lifespan only adds to the possibilities for successful ageing in the Irish fleet.

But against that, a significant cohort of Irish sailors have an increasing appreciation of innovation in boat design and equipment. And the reality that maintenance, and major boat up-grade project costs, are rocketing at our limited waterfront boat service facilities means that simply renewing one's boat every three years is an increasingly attractive proposition, particularly among those working in the huge IT and Research complexes in Dublin and Cork where continuous up-dating is as natural as breathing.

The trouble is that the manufacturers who rely on this increasing trend in favour of planned obsolescence don't always get it right. Years ago, the J/35 must have been seen eventually as a complete pain in the neck by the directors of J Boats, as the damned thing just kept on winning despite the alternative attraction of new temptations which the company kept bringing to the marketplace.

Lets hear it for Wexford! The Quarter Tonner Snoopy brought the ICRA Class 3 Honours home to Courtown Sailing Club. Photo: AfloatLets hear it for Wexford! The Quarter Tonner Snoopy brought the ICRA Class 3 Honours home to Courtown Sailing Club. Photo: Afloat.ie

Over at Beneteau, they must have come to think of the endlessly successful First 40.7 as a millstone around their neck in trying to progress the company. But meanwhile back in the world of J/Boats, I'll never forget seeing the Tyrrell family of Arklow's very new J/109 Aquelina emerge at the head of the fleet in the Lambay Race of 2004, and thinking that there would be a boat of ideal size, type and provenance to become a hugely successful new One Design cruiser-racer class for Dublin Bay and its immediate area.

It took some years for it to happen, but then the class took off in Dublin Bay, and in a week's time, the Royal Irish YC will be hosting the annual J/109 Championship to give us a take on the class's health in the post-pandemic circumstances. However, the ICRA Championship meanwhile was much as expected, with the Kelly family's J/109 Storm winning the 24-strong Class 1 (biggest in the fleet) from sister-ship White Mischief (Goodbody family).

It was a totally typical regatta outcome in many ways, as Storm now clearly sails as a Rush SC boat, reflecting the growing muscle power in the sailing world of clubs on the Fingal coast, while White Mischief is "old establishment" with the RIYC.

The overall list of topliners under IRC says it more clearly:

ICRA Nats 2021

  • Class 0 (and overall champion) Kaya (J/122, Frank Whelan, Greystones SC)
  • Class 1 Storm (J/109, Kelly family, Rush SC)
  • Class 2 Checkmate XVIII (Classic Half Tonner, Nigel Biggs, Howth YC)
  • Class 3 Snoopy (Classic Quarter Tonner, Joanne Hall & Martin Mahon, Courtown Harbour SC).
  • Class 4 (non-spinnaker) Gung-Ho (Super Seal F/K, Grainne & Sean O'Shea, RIYC).

With seventeen clubs in all represented in the ICRA Nats fleet, the assumed overall success of the Big Six clubs was inevitably going to provide added motivation for those who were enabling their own small home or childhood clubs to punch above their weight. It can only be healthy for little clubs to be putting one over on the biggies from time to time, and it certainly happens on the south coast with Baltimore SC sometimes functioning as an "alternative" Royal Cork YC, while it was quite a thing at the ICRA event, as another conspicuous contender was Shaun Douglas's First 40.7 Game Changer from Belfast Lough, which lists Cockle Island Boat Club as the home base.

Shaun Douglas's First 40.7 Game Changer is clearly home-ported at CIBC – where's that? Photo: Afloat.ieShaun Douglas's First 40.7 Game Changer is clearly home-ported at CIBC – where's that? Photo: Afloat.ie

Cockle Island is the rocky islet protecting the shoal natural harbour at Groomsport on the south shore of Belfast Lough, and the reality is that Game Changer can only get within convenient distance of the clubhouse (it's an attractive conversion of the old Lifeboat House) at high water. But it was CIBC's encouragement of the youthful Shaun Douglas which set him on his successful sailing path, and this is remembered every time Game Changer goes racing.

Groomsport on the south shore of Belfast Lough is home to Cockle Island Boat Club. Cockle Island is the rocky islet sheltering the harbour, but as it is shoal, CIBC's best-known boat Game Changer can only visit at High WaterGroomsport on the south shore of Belfast Lough is home to Cockle Island Boat Club. Cockle Island is the rocky islet sheltering the harbour, but as it is shoal, CIBC's best-known boat Game Changer can only visit at High Water

Yet typically of the Irish fleet, the First 40.7 Game Changer is of a notably successful marque (nearly 700 built) of which the last one was produced more than five years ago, while that other favourite the J/109 has also been taken out of production. Certainly, they can now offer a very attractive proposition for anyone game to take on an end-of-season bargain with all its maintenance challenges, but as our world resumes its fast-moving mode, there's an increasing line of thought whose proponents reckon that everyday working life already provides enough in the way of hassle, and when they go sailing they want to do so in a new and immediately competitive boat which represented the latest design thinking and comes adorned with warranties which immediately make any concerns somebody else's problem.

Of course, they cost an immediate fortune. But suddenly the money seems to be there, and when you've a useful boat available to a design created by a genius of global repute who happens to have his design studio in a remote and beautiful valley in the Wicklow Hills, what's not to like?

Thus although there's still quite a bit of sailing to be done before 2021 is finally out of the way, the advent of a new Irish class of Mark Mills-designed Cape 31s in 2022 is already top of the agenda.

The Cape 31 can get a move on when given the chance. Photo: Rick TomlinsonThe Cape 31 can get a move on when given the chance. Photo: Rick Tomlinson

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Snoopy, the Joubert/Nievelt designed Quarter Tonner with bases at Courtown Sailing Club in Wexford and Royal Ulster on Belfast Lough can most certainly be classed Top Dog after Marty Mahon's consistent top three performance at the ICRA Nationals in Dublin Bay last weekend. The annual championship regatta resumed after a 25-month gap due to the Covid crisis, with 80 crews entered from 17 clubs around Ireland to decide four titles under the IRC rating system.

The event was run with precision and afforded superb competition in all five classes. Of particular interest in Northern Ireland Waters was the performance of the five boats from that region, Forty Licks and Game Changer in Class 0, Hijacker and Le Basculer in Class 1 and Snoopy in Class 3.

Forty Licks, Jay Colville's First 40CR from RUYC, had an excellent regatta taking second overall in IRC ZeroForty Licks, Jay Colville's First 40CR from RUYC, had an excellent regatta taking second overall in IRC Zero

Shaun Doran's Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer, from Cockle Island Boat Club, finished fourth in IRC ZeroShaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer, from Cockle Island Boat Club, finished fourth in IRC Zero

Marty Mahon was delighted with the win in Snoopy; " It meant a lot to everyone to be back out racing after such a long period so many thanks to ICRA and the National Yacht Club. It was a shame to see Quest have to retire from the regatta. They are great friends and supported us all the way. Very much looking forward to meeting them on the start line at the next event. On a personal note, it meant a huge amount to me to be out racing with close friends and family from home. It was really special.

A big thanks to my brothers James and Sean, our super crew of Brian Allen, Jonathan Sutton, David Switzer, Matthew O'Gorman and most of all, my wife Joanne for the surprise birthday present of Snoopy this year."

The Snoopy crew on their way to overall IRC 3 victory on Dublin Bay The Snoopy crew on their way to overall IRC 3 victory on Dublin Bay...

...and toasting success dockside at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour...and toasting success dockside at the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Forty Licks, Jay Colville's First 40CR from RUYC, had an excellent regatta, managing to squeeze into second overall between Kaya, Frank Whelan's J 122 from Greystones Sailing Club and Jump Juice from Royal Cork. Kaya emerged overall winners of the annual Irish Cruiser Racing Association National championships with four straight wins, which meant the final day wasn't needed for Whelan's team, who won the Class Zero title, as well as the overall event win.

Only Forty Licks came close to challenging the Wicklow boat by counting four top three results. Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice from the Royal Cork YC took third place. Colville was pleased with their performance; "Despite not having sailed as a team for two years, my crew is awesome, the best – and they stay consistent. The wind strengths were perfect for racing. My thanks go to all at ICRA and the Dun Laoghaire clubs".

Stuart Cranston's Strangford Lough YC Ker 32 HijackerStuart Cranston's Strangford Lough YC Ker 32 Hijacker

Le Basculer, Mike Spence's Archambault A35 from Killyleagh Yacht ClubLe Basculer, Mike Spence's Archambault A35 from Killyleagh Yacht Club

And another Belfast Lough boat, Shaun Douglas's Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer, from the small Groomsport club, Cockle Island Boat Club, finished fourth, having given Jump Juice from Royal Cork a run for their money. They finished on equal points (17), with the tie split in Jump Juice's favour.

In the Class 1 B fleet, the two Strangford Lough Le Basculer, Mike Spence's Archambault A35 from Killyleagh Yacht Club and Stuart Cranston's Strangford Lough YC Ker 32 finished 4th and 5th.

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Greystones Sailing Club's Frank Whelan and the crew of Kaya emerged as overall winners of the annual Irish Cruiser Racing Association National Championships on Dublin Bay today (Sunday 5th September 2021).

Four straight class wins meant the final day wasn't needed for Whelan's team who won the Class Zero title as Afloat reports here plus the overall event win.

Prizes were presented at the National Yacht Club who hosted the 2021 event, its first staging in 25 months due to the pandemic.

80 crews entered from 17 clubs around Ireland to decide four titles under the IRC rating system.

Whelan's crew for the ICRA double win (below) was: Paddy Barnwell (nav/helm); Mark Mansfield (tactics) (not pictured), Andy Verso (main); Bill Nolan (trim 1); Cillian Ballesty (trim 2); Gary Hick (pit1); Matt Sherlock (mast); Gavin Laverty (bow 1); Brian Hare (bow 2) and Killian FitzGerald (pit2).

The overall event win is calculated using an ICRA formula based on results, class size and performance rating. 

Find all of Afloat's coverage of the 2021 ICRA Championships in one handy link here

The ICRA National Championships 2022 are scheduled to be sailed at Cork Week in July next year which will also mark the delayed festivities marking the 300th anniversary of the Royal Cork YC.

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Done and dusted on Saturday night, there was no need for Frank Whelan's J/122 Greystones crew to go afloat at Dun Laoghaire today as the four wins amassed since Friday had already secured the overall victory in the 12-boat ICRA Cruisers Zero National Championships on Dublin Bay. 

For Whelan, it is the second cruiser-racer victory in as many months, having also earned an overall win in August's Calves Week in West Cork too.

Whelan's Wicklow crew in winning form at the National Yacht Club this weekend were Paddy Barnwell (nav/helm); Mark Mansfield (tactics), Andy Verso (main); Bill Nolan (trim 1); Cillian Ballesty (trim 2); Gary Hick (pit1); Matt Sherlock (mast); Gavin Laverty (bow 1); Brian Hare (bow 2) and Killian FitzGerald (pit2).

Having had a disappointing second day, pre-event favourite Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice from Royal Cork recovered from her UFD penalty in race three to be fifth overall last night and place third overall, but some eight points off runner up Jay Colville's First 40 Forty Licks. The Northern Ireland challenger from Royal Ulster counted a consistent scoreline of 2, 2,  2, and 3 to be the nearest to the impressive Kaya easily. 

Unfortunately, the Zero fleet was without the Grand Soleil 44 Samoton for the final race of the Championships following yesterday's weather mark collision that broke off the new yacht's bow sprit.

Results are here

Jay Colville's First 40 Forty LicksSecond in IRC 0 - Jay Colville's First 40 Forty Licks

Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump JuiceThird in IRC 0 - Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice

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Leading from start to finish, the Kelly family J109 from Rush Sailing Club in north county Dublin sealed the IRC One victory in the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay this afternoon with a 4.5 points cushion.

Storm counted two race wins in her seven-race tally to outwit June Sovereign's Cup winner and the much-fancied J/99 Snapshot of Mike and Ritchie Evans from Howth, who were in the runner up position for much of the competition in the championship's biggest division of 24-boats.

In a stand out final day performance, however, Tim and Richard Goodbody's J109 White Mischief from the Royal Irish Yacht Club overhauled the Evans brothers.  The father and duo climbed back up the leaderboard from sixth overall with a 2 and a 1 scored in the final two races today to claim second overall.

Results are here

Second in IRC 1 - Tim and Richard Goodbody's White MischiefSecond in IRC 1 - Tim and Richard Goodbody's White Mischief

Third in IRC One - J/99 Snapshot (Mike and Ritchie Evans)Third in IRC 1- J/99 Snapshot (Mike and Ritchie Evans)

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In the end, it became a Half Tonner domination of Class Two of the ICRA Championships on Dublin Bay this weekend, where light to medium conditions played right into the hands of the optimised vintage yachts.

All three podium places went to the Howth class with, as predicted, Nigel Biggs' Checkmate XVIII taking the title on nine points with a four-point margin over Jonny Swan in King One. 

Biggs' winning crew were Dave Cullen, Daragh Sheridan, Suzie Murphy, Andy Sargent, Mark Kenny and Niki Potterton.

Third was HYC clubmate Darren Wright in Mata. 

The north Dublin club took ten of the top 12 places in the 15-boat fleet, with 2019's overall ICRA winner, the X-332 Dux (Anthony Gore Grimes), finishing fourth.

Results are here

Jonny Swan at the helm of King OneSecond in IRC2 - Jonny Swan at the helm of King One 

Third in IRC3 - Darren Wright's MataThird in IRC2 - Darren Wright's Mata

The X-332 Dux (Anthony Gore Grimes) finished fourthThe X-332 Dux (Anthony Gore Grimes) finished fourth

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With a statement of her intent delivered last month at Calves Week in West Cork, Courtown Sailing Club Quarter Tonner 'Snoopy' is the ICRA Divison 3 National Champion at the first attempt after a superbly sailed series on Dublin Bay. 

Counting seven results in the top three (and six in the top two), Joanne Hall and Martin Mahons' Wexford campaign (with Royal Ulster connections) led the three-race championship since Friday and watched other pre-championship favourites in the 11-boat fade away. 

A port-starboard collision ended the highly fancied Quest's (Johnathan Skerritt) chances on day one of the regatta, and today, Paul Colton's Cri-Cri from the Royal Irish Yacht Club that was a close second going into the final two races today was pipped by Flor O'Driscoll's J24 Hard on Port from Bray Sailing Club for second overall in a building 10-knot easterly for the Sunday finale.

Flor O'Driscoll's J24 Hard on Port from Bray Sailing ClubSecond in IRC 3 - Flor O'Driscoll's J24 Hard on Port from Bray Sailing Club

Paul Colton's Quarter Tonner Cri-Cri from the Royal Irish Yacht ClubThird in IRC 3 - Paul Colton's Quarter Tonner Cri-Cri from the Royal Irish Yacht Club

Overall results are here.

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Two boats suffered 'serious damage' and were unable to compete in the rest of the ICRA 2021 Championships at the National Yacht Club due to a collision at the top of a windward leg in the first race on Saturday morning.

During the race, both Class Zero and One ICRA fleets were competing in different races on the same course and were rounding the windward and spreader marks on the second lap in 14-16 knots of breeze.

As Magic Touch (IRL44444), a Greystones-based First 34.7 competing in Class One, and Samatom (GBR 9244R), a Grand Soleil 44 from Howth, competing in Class Zero, rounded the spreader mark, Samatom's bow 'made contact' with Magic Touch on her port aft quarter as the sequence of pictures below show.

The impact was big enough to spin the smaller boat around almost 180 degrees.

Immediately after the incident, both boats radioed the Race Committee and stated they were retiring from the race with damage. Neither boat competed in any further racing on Saturday or Sunday of the Championships.

Both boats lodged protests over the incident. 

The ICRA protest committee chaired by International Rules Judge Bill O'Hara heard both protests on Saturday night, and it found the following facts: 

  1. MagicTouch rounded the windward mark clear ahead of Samatom, heading towards the Offset mark (6-8 BL from W mark). Two other boats were above and outside MagicTouch.
  2. MagicTouch was slower than Samatom, which was coming from astern at a higher speed.
  3. As MagicTouch entered the zone of the mark, she was clear ahead. Shortly afterwards, Samatom established an overlap from astern.
  4. When MagicTouch bore away to round the mark, Samatom altered course in an attempt to avoid a contact.
  5. Samatom made contact causing serious damage.
  6. The wind was 14/16 knots.

As both boats retired, no penalty could be applied, the jury decided. The full jury decision and conclusion, along with other case details, is here

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Greystones Sailing Club's J122 Kaya is walking away with the IRC Zero Divison of the ICRA National Championships, counting four wins from four races so far.

“The boat is going very well, and we got good positions most of the time,” Kaya tactician Mark Mansfield said.  “With a good crew, the results just came.  And we’re the middle-rated boat in our class.”

The Wicklow crew are Frank Whelan (helm); Paddy Barnwell (nav/helm); Mark Mansfield (tactics), Andy Verso (main); Bill Nolan (trim 1); Cillian Ballesty (trim 2); Gary Hick (pit1); Matt Sherlock (mast); Gavin Laverty (bow 1); Brian Hare (bow 2) and Killian FitzGerald (pit2)

The regatta reaches its conclusion on Sunday, and some well-publicised challenges for the Zero title have not materialised.

Although a pre-race favourite, Conor Phelan's Ker 37 Jump Juice took a UFD penalty in the first of three races today, putting her into fifth overall on 22 points.

Another challenge from June's Sovereign's Cup-winning Grand Soleil 44 Samatom ended after a weather mark collision in race two saw the brand new marque retire from racing today. 

Another great start for Kaya in the ICRA big boat class but spare a thought for smaller Class Zero competitors such as second-row Yoyo, the Sunfast 3600, some 10 feet smaller than some competitorsAnother great start for Kaya in the ICRA big boat class, but spare a thought for smaller Class Zero competitors such as second-row Yoyo, the Sunfast 3600, some 10 feet smaller than the biggest entry

Instead, Jay Colville’s Forty Licks from the Royal Ulster Yacht Club has been a consistent presence in the 12 boat fleet and is rewarded with second place overall on 10 points. 

Jay Colville’s Forty Licks from the Royal Ulster Yacht Club is second overallJay Colville’s Forty Licks from the Royal Ulster Yacht Club is second overall.

Another Northern Ireland boat, the Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer, lies third on 19 points. 

The Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer from Cockle Island Boat Club lies thirdThe Beneteau 40.7 Game Changer from Cockle Island Boat Club lies third

The forecast for Sunday's final two races is for SSE winds of 12 to 16 mph

Results are here

The Dublin Bay First 40 Prima Forte from the National Yacht Club lies fourth The Dublin Bay First 40 Prima Forte from the National Yacht Club lies fourth.

El Pocko, a Puma 42 from the Royal St George Yacht ClubEl Pocko, a Puma 42 from the Royal St George Yacht Club

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Joanne Hall and Martin Mahons' Quarter Tonner Snoopy from Courtown Sailing Club (with Royal Ulster connections) continue to hold a narrow lead in Class 3 of the ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay. 

The overnight leader scored 1, 2, 2 in today's three races that puts her on 7 points overall and two points ahead of Paul Colton’s Quarter Tonner Cri Cri from the Royal Irish YC in second.

A win for Bray Sailing Club’s Flor O’Driscoll in a J/24 puts him in third place in the 11-boat fleet.

Disappointingly, pre-regatta favourite Quest did not sail today following a collision on the opening day that has put her out of the championships. 

The forecast for Sunday's final two races is for SSE winds of 12 to 16 mph

Results are here.

Paul Colton’s Quarter Tonner Cri Cri lies second overall Paul Colton’s Quarter Tonner Cri Cri

 

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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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