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2017 ICRA Champions will be crowned shortly at Royal Cork Yacht Club after a decision to cancel today's final races due to strong winds in Cork Harbour.

Organisers ran a full schedule of races on Friday (day one report here) and Saturday (day two report here) ensuring a championship series has been completed, regardless of today's early end.

Harbour Courses were laid this morning but winds reached 35–knots before start time and racing was cancelled 'on safety grounds' by the race officers.

A prizegiving at RCYC is scheduled for 3pm.

ICRA 2017 National Championships photo galleries by Bob Bateman are here: Day one and Day two

Published in ICRA

Bob Bateman's photo–gallery from this afternoon's second day of racing at the 2017 ICRA National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club is below.

WM Nixon's second day race report is here

Published in ICRA

They’ve had a mighty busy day at Cork for Day 2 of the ICRA Nats 2017, with Race Officers Jack Roy and Peter Crowley putting through a rapid-fire programme of three races to give them an event and a result even if the world is blown away tomorrow writes W M Nixon.

Five races already in the can. It’s good going. In fact, tomorrow will probably see a further freshening of the strong sou’sou’westerlies around midday, but then a veering and ultimately an easing. However, by that time, with all the joys of Monday morning beckoning, the fleet will be looking to have things done and dusted by early afternoon at the very latest.

dark angel jump juice2Maybe it’s just as well Bob Bateman’s pics come without sound....This is Dark Angel, helmed by Robert O’Leary, doing all she can to let Conor Phelan’s Jump Juice get back in front again. Photo Bob Bateman

“Dusted”, however, is scarcely the word, as the mixture of rain and wind washed away any dust long since. But these people are sportsmen, and whatever the conditions have thrown at them, they’ve gone out and got on with it, even if it needed the use of the big natural harbour’s shelter at times to push through some of the programme.

In Class 0 as far as numbers are concerned, the mantra is “small is beautiful”. The sinking of the Ker 39 Inis Mor while Crosshaven-bound from Scotland just one short week ago, and the withdrawal of another biggie, has led to a match-racing series between Conor Phelan’s Ker 36 Jump Juice and Robert O’Leary driving the Dubois 37 Dark Angel, an oldie which has been round the block and then some.

Oldie she may be, but with young O’Leary on top form, the Angel has been sailing like she’s new-born. Or maybe that should be Born Again. Halleluliah anyway. She has won all five races thus far, and even when she wasn’t in front on the water, a rating advantage of 0.008 points put her back on top.

In Class 1, John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II was having it all her own way with a row of three bullets until Race 4, when the Kelly family’s usually all-conquering J/109 Storm finally found her mojo again after some rather iffy results, and came up with the win, while in Race 5, Paul O’Higgins JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI rounded out a 4,5,2,2 scoreline with the win.

joker bon exemple3John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II chasing Colin Byrne’s XP 33 Bon Exemple. Photo: Bob Bateman
ohiggins rockabill4Paul O’Higgins’ JPK 10.80 Rockabill VI found improved form today, rounding it out with a win in Race 5. She’s a boat in a hurry – next Wednesday evening, she’s due on the start line at Dun Laoghaire for the 275-mile Dingle Race. Photo Bob Bateman

Meanwhile, with these interlopers filling her accustomed top slot, Joker II had to be content with a 5th and a 4th, but she still leads overall, with Rockabill second and Rob McConnell’s A35 Fool’s Gold being anything but foolish for a steady third, with a scoreline in which she was never worse than fourth, but never better than second. Did somebody mention a bridesmaid?

slack alice harmony5Slack Alice from Dunmore East and Harmony from Howth battling it out in IRC 2. Photo: Bob Bateman

The two Howth boats battling for the overall lead in IRC 2 have seen Ross McDonald’s X-332 Equinox slip in front by just one point over Jonny Swan’s classic Half Tonner Harmony, all a bit weird as Equinox had a 6th and 2nd but then a first, while Harmony had two fourths and a second. It was local hero Finbar O’Regan’s day as he notched 2,1,3 with his Elan 333 Artful Dodger, enough to put him into third ahead of the Tingles in Alpaca.

jack roy6“If you want anything done, ask a busy man to do it”. ISA President Jack Roy has somehow carved out the time to be one of the Race Officers at the ICRA Nats – Peter Crowley is the other. Photo Bob Bateman

IRC 3 was almost boring, as it saw Paul Gibbons’ Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge log three more wins to give him five in all, while Anthony Gore-Grimes’ X-302 Dux had three seconds. But the Corby 25 Fusion (named today as sailed by Ronan Cobbe) enlivened things greatly by having two thirds, but then a fourth. Now there’s variety for you....... On the points table, those three are now out of sight in that order from the rest of the class.

Division 4 continues to be dominated by J/24s in the first seven positions, but Flor O’Driscoll must have over-celebrated yesterday’s success last night, as he’s now back in fourth overall after a 3rd, 13th (whoops) and 5th today. It’s Daragh McCormack who has a good points lead after the old 2,1,2 today, while Ciaran White is into second OA in Scandal with a 4,2,1, and Mark Usher is third.

ya gotta wanna7The boat whose name sums it all up down in Crosser tonight. A rush of J/24s is led by Ya Gotta Wanna (Dave Lane & Sinead Enright). Photo Bob Bateman

Non-spinnaker Division A continues to see Denis & AnneMarie Murphy’s Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo making her stately way round the course with a string of wins, while the Dillon/Baxter J/80 Rioja has a similar string of seconds, but the unlikely scoreline of 9,9,3 and 3 has seen Wan & Eric Waterman’s X37 Saxon Senator take over third slot overall.

grand soleil nieulargo8Classy. The Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (Denis & AnneMarie Murhy) dominates non-spinnaker Division A. Photo Bob Bateman

And finally in Non-Spinnaker Div B, Clodagh O’Donovan;s Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties is doing that very thing, roaring along with even greater vigour. While that class had only two races today, she won them both, with a clear lead of 5 points over second finisher Pat Vaughan with the Contessa 33 Aramis, while Tom O’Mahony’s Hanse 31 Loch Greine has taken over third slot overall with a fourth, and then a second in the final race of the day.

ICRA adds: 

For many crews on Day 2 of the ICRA National Championships at the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the weather conditions seemed determined to merge Sailing with Mixed Martial Arts, such was the range of gear damage and minor bodily injuries throughout the 43 boat fleet.

Yet despite the gale force gusts throughout the day, three races were sailed resulting in a championship with the final day still on the cards though subject to similar or heavier weather conditions.

Both A and B fleets were started inside the shelter of Cork Harbour with just brief forays outside to Ringabella and Harp buoys for the bigger boats to test the conditions in the morning.

Only two of the five divisions have runaway leaders and a raft of mostly new national champions is likely tomorrow.

Although Conor Phelan's Division Zero title on Jump Juice looks set to fall to Robert O'Leary on Tony Ackland Welsh visitor Dark Angel, straight wins for the visiting boat belies the nip and tuck match race sailed over the past two days. The defending title holder hasn't been able to open up distance on the lower-rated challenger in racing where the smallest handling error determines the result.

In Division One, John Maybury's hopes for a third consecutive national title on Joker 2 are under pressure from Paul O'Higgins Rockabill VI who enjoyed resurgent form ending top boat for the day and coming within two points of Maybury in first place. By contrast, after winning the opening race of the day Joker 2 placed out the top three for the next two races and faces a decisive final day.

A broken spinnaker pole for Division 2 title holder David Cullen on Checkmate XV ended his title hopes as he retired after the opening race of the day. Howth YC clubmates Ross McDonald on Equinox in first overall and Johnny Swan on Harmony in second now lead the hunt for the national title.

Paul Gibbons' Anchor Challenge is the only other class leader to match Dark Angel's straight run of bullets in Division Three and appears unstoppable going into the final day.

Amongst the J24 battle that dominates the leading boats of Division Four, Darragh McCormack's Foynes entry Stouche has risen steadily to top the leaderboard overnight after two second places and a win for the day. Previous leader Flor O'Driscoll with Hard On Port from the Royal St. George YC had a good start to the day with a second but then had an On-Course Side starting disqualification in race two followed by redress in the final race after a Port and Starboard incident resulted in a series-ending collision.

Meanwhile, amongst the two White Sails Divisions, two races were sailed for the day inside Cork Harbour where it was relatively flat-water but winds still funneled to Gale Force making for tricky racing. Denis and Anne-Marie Murphys’ Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo topped Division A under ECHO handicap with two wins while Clodagh O'Donavan’s Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties leads Division B with a win and a second place for the day.

"I want to pay tribute to the many crews who displayed great stamina and maintained a very high standard in the most demanding conditions today," said ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney of Foynes SC. "All week it seemed certain that we would have a memorable regatta and today is proof positive of this."

With three races completed for Day 2, a championship series has been achieved plus a single event discard also came into force after race five. As with Saturday's schedule, race officers Jack Roy and Peter Crowley will decide on options for Sunday's final races in the morning though with more high winds forecast, availing of the shelter of Cork Harbour appears likely.

ICRA National Championships (overall after day two) at Royal Cork Yacht Club: 

icra Day 2 results

See Bob Bateman's Day Two Photo Gallery Here

Published in ICRA

A highly anticipated ICRA National Championships got underway at Royal Cork Yacht Club this afternoon with two races successfully completed before the weather is expected to take a turn for the worse tomorrow.

WM Nixon has wrapped up the first day in his report and results here and Bob Bateman's ICRA day one photo gallery is below:

Published in ICRA

John Maybury’s J/109 Joker II (RIYC) put in a cracker of a start in the opening two races of the ICRA Nats at Royal Cork this afternoon with a couple of straight bullets in IRC 1 writes W M Nixon. The word is that with all sorts of meteorological mayhem threatening, PROs Jack Roy and Peter Crowley made sure that two good races were in the pot before the first day’s sailing ended. So although a blanket of increasingly heavy rain was spreading across by late afternoon, there was no question of rain stopping play in good sailing conditions in an onshore breeze.

Rob McConnell of Dunmore East with the A35 Fool’s Gold was next best. He’d a 2nd and 3rd, while Ronan Harris’s J/109 Jigamaree got onto the podium once with a second to go with her fifth in the first race and finish the day lying third overall.

icra nats2Getting down to business with the oldies. Ross McDonald’s veteran X-332 Equinox (foreground) gets herself well placed on Shane Statham’s vintage GK 34 Slack Alice as they clear the start. Photo: Robert Bateman

IRC 2 saw Jonny Swann in tune with Harmony, the classic Half Tonner notching a 1st and 4th to put her ahead of Ross McDonald’s veteran X-332 Equinox which came in on a 2nd and 3rd, with the other win going to ICRA Nats organizer Paul Tingle who campaigns the X34 Alpaca with his wife Deirdre. A fifth in the first race was enough to have them lying third overall at day’s end.

With Howth boats taking first and second in IRC 2, IRC 3 had to come up with something similar to underline the Dublin eastside club’s new lease of life. However, Crosshaven skipper Paul Gibbons decided otherwise, taking two wins with his Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge, while the Howth men had to be content with two seconds for Robert Colwell’s Corby 25 Fusion to be second overall, and two thirds for Anthony Gore-grimes X-302 Dux.

icra nats 3The Corby 25 Fusion (second left, Richard Colwell) slicing through the chop to show the form that took two clean second places to be second overall, while Anthony Gore-Grimes’ X-302 Dux scored two thirds. Photo: Robert Bateman

Local boy gone abroad Flor O’Driscoll came home to show consistency with two seconds in his J/24 Hard On Port in IRC 4 to lead overall. In fact it was J/24s all the way down to seventh place in this class, which tells us something about the enduring appeal of the Rod Johnstone classic. Darragh McCormack finished second overall, while Mark Usher was third.

Non-spinnaker A/IRC was won by the Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (Denis & AnneMarie Murphy) with a couple of J/80s – Rioja and Jedi - in second and third overall, which you’ll have to agree was a bizarre mixture of boat sizes. However, things were more normal in IRC B Non-Spinnaker where Clodagh O’Donovan’s Beneteau 35s5 Roaring Forties notched a 2nd and first to keep her ahead overall of Pat Vaughan’s Contessa 33 Aramis and Tom McCarthy’s Impala 28 Whistlin’ Dixie.

icra nats2The J/24 is very much alive and well and living at the ICRA Nats 2017 at Crosshaven. They took the first seven places in class, with seasoned campaigner Flor O’Driscoll on top of the points pile in Hard on Port. Photo: Robert Bateman

Certain well-known boats of high reputation were undoubtedly out there racing with great expectations which weren’t fulfilled on the day, but we’ll spare their blushes for the moment as everyone waits in wonder to see how the determined race managers will cope tomorrow with a very mixed weather pattern.

Link to Bob Bateman's day one photo gallery here

Day one results below: 


Cruisers 3 ICRA

Cruisers 3 ICRA

Cruisers 3 ICRA\

class 4 ICRA results

ICRA Adds:  

All seven divisions had a full schedule of races on the opening day of the ICRA National Championships on Cork Harbour this afternoon with close racing and surprises in several fleets. Of three defending champions present, just one is currently on course to retain a title.

ICRA Boat of the Year and defending Division 1 champion Joker 2 skippered by John Maybury of the Royal Irish Yacht Club is set fair for a hat-trick this weekend after winning both yesterday's races under IRC while also leading under Progressive ECHO.

Division 1 shared a start with Class Zero where defending champion Conor Phelan from the RCYC went head to head match-race style with Tony Ackland's Dark Angel from Swansea. The visitor gained the upper hand in race one, winning the first shift and covering the local boat around the cans inside Cork Harbour.

Phelan's crew led on the water in race two but were unable to open sufficient separation in another close race and the visitor took two bullets for the day on IRC.

The lighter conditions south of Roche's Point for the other divisions saw David Cullen's Checkmate XV slip to fifth overall on IRC handicap placing his title defence under pressure. Jonny Swan's Harmony, another Half-tonner from Howth YC leads the division on both IRC and Progressive ECHO but this eight strong fleet is tight with just a three point spread from first to fifth places.

If racing can be held in the weekend's forecast high winds, Cullen may yet find the edge to retain his title.

Paul Gibbons Anchor Challenge leads Division 3 overall, both on IRC and ECHO after two solid wins yesterday leaving Howth's Richard Colwell's Fusion and Anthony Gore-Grimes' Dux to hold both runner-up places, split on tie-break at the front of the ten boat division.

Former national champion Flor O'Driscoll with Hard On Port from the Royal St. George YC is proving hard to dislodge from his favourite status in Division 4 where J24 footers hold the top seven places under IRC handicap. Racing in ten knots off Roche's Point saw the Cobh sailor prove the worth of consistency with two second places for the day while Foynes Daragh McCormack with his newly acquired Stouche is looking like his main challenger after finding form with a win in the second race of the day.

Amongst the White Sails fleets, Denis and Anne-Marie Murphys' Nieulargo, a Grand Soleil 40 tops the A-fleet ahead of a pair of J80's while Clodagh O'Donavan's Roaring Forties, a Beneteau 35s5 leads the B fleet, both on ECHO handicap.

Meanwhile, Principal Race Officers Jack Roy and Peter Crowley are expected to wait until Saturday morning before making a decision on racing for the day in light of the the Near-Gale conditions forecast. If racing off Roche's Point is untenable, there may be an option to sail some or all of the divisions inside Cork Harbour.

Published in ICRA

Wind – and too much of it – is foremost on the minds of Royal Cork organisers this morning at the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) championships in Cork Harbour.  While the 60–boat championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club is likely to kick off in ideal conditions off Roches Point at 2pm today, there are fears for the rest of the schedule with near gale conditions forecast.

The championships have the option of continuing inside the relative protection of Cork Harbour but setting courses inside the harbour area has its own problems with low water around noon each day. will bring you an evening report by WM Nixon and photos by Bob Bateman after this afternoon's first races.

Published in ICRA

While everyone is very relieved and grateful that the crew of the Scottish-owned Ker 39 Inis Mor were saved after their boat sank at the Saltees at the weekend while on passage to Cork for the up-coming ICRA Nationals, there is still a sense of shock that a boat which was a successful veteran of three Round Ireland Races should have gone down so suddenly writes W M Nixon.

Inis Mor is best known in Irish sailing for her years campaigned by the Gouy family of France, who won an RORC Championship with her thanks to their overall win in the 2012 Round Ireland Race. She was always in the frame, as her other two circuits of Ireland notched her a second and a third. And her gallant owners further endeared themselves to the Irish sailing community through being entered for the Round Ireland Race as representing the Clifden Boat Club, as they have a property in Connemara.

Inis Mor was sold to top Scottish skipper Jonathan Anderson, whose own formidable track record at the sharp end of the fleet made the Anderson/Inis Mor equipe’s debut in Cork a keenly-anticipated event. Thus the news of this sinking, apparently caused by a failed toilet seacock with an ingress of water which was not obvious until it was too late to do anything to effectively seal it off, brings a sense of shock, and an added awareness that in a stripped-down racing boat, almost any equipment failure can have cumulative and potentially disastrous effects if not immediately dealt with.

Published in ICRA

ICRA Commodore Simon McGibney has expressed relief that everyone is safe after the weekend loss of Scottish competitor Inis Mor on its way to the ICRA National Championships at Royal Cork Yacht Club.

As reported on Saturday, the Cruisers Zero Ker 39 sank off the Saltee Islands. All three crew were rescued by Coast Guard Helicopter.

“We are saddened by the loss of Inis Mór and the absence of our Scottish friends from the championship but we are enormously relieved that nobody was injured or worse during the sinking,” said McGibney. “We are thankful, as always for the professionalism of the Irish Coast Guard crew on Rescue 117 for winching the sailors to safety and to the Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat crew for their efforts to save the yacht.”

Bright and breezy conditions are on the cards for next weekend’s Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s annual championships at Crosshaven where a fleet of 60 boats from around Ireland are expected to contest four national titles.

A steady stream of boats arriving by road at the Royal Cork Yacht Club marked the build-up to the event over the weekend with several crews expected on the water on Thursday for training practice.

All four national champions will be defending their titles led by ICRA Boat of the Year, John Maybury’s Joker 2 from the Royal Irish YC who is aiming for a hat-trick victory in Class 1 this year. Class Zero champion Conor Phelan on Jump Juice will be without the Scottish challenger Inis Mor. Howth YC’s David Cullen arrived by road with Checkmate XV on Monday while Ken Lawless and Sybil McCormacks’ Cartoon from the Royal Irish YC is also ready to defend their Class 3 title. Read more in Afloat's runners and riders preview here.

Foynes based McGibney says 'safety will be upper-most in the ICRA event organisers’ thoughts' this weekend as current forecasts suggest winds in the upper-range of racing conditions for at least part of the event.

Published in ICRA

The yacht that sank off Wexford yesterday afternoon was the Scottish–owned Ker 39 Inis Mor. The top performer was en route to the Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA) National Championships that begin at Royal Cork Yacht Club in Cork Harbour on Thursday. 

A social media post by the crew last night said: 'By now a lot of you may have heard the sad news. We are all glad that Clarke, Bob and Clara are safe and well. Unfortunately this afternoon Inis Mor sunk whilst on her way to Crosshaven. Clearly we are all absolutely gutted but very thankful to the [Coastguard] Rescue 117 helicopter crew who got the guys out the life raft and the Kilmore Quay RNLI team who came to assist'.

inis mor liferaft rescueThe crew, two men and a woman, evacuated to a liferaft (one crew visible top left of raft). Photo: Rescue 117

Inis Mor Ker 39Clyde–based Inis Mor, a Ker 39, was due to race at the ICRA championships on Thursday. Photo: Facebook/Inis Mor

inis mor routeThe yacht made good progress from the Clyde to Scotland and called in to Dun Laoghaire on its passage down the Irish Sea. Screengrab: Marine Traffic

As reported earlier, the three sailors were rescued by Coastguard Helicopter and brought to Waterford airport. 

Rescue 117 reported it was tasked to a yacht sinking off the Saltee Islands on social media: 'The yacht crew had issued a Mayday call and had taken to their life-raft. The life-raft was spotted 11 miles away by our winchman on the FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) camera. Rescue 117 winched the three crew from the life-raft to the safety of the aircraft. They did not require any medical attention. Kilmore Quay lifeboat were also on scene. The yacht sank shortly after'.

The yacht, one of several international competitors travelling to the event, was one of four competing in Class Zero of the Cork Harbour based Championships. Read's ICRA Runners and Riders event preview here.

Inis Mor is a 39–footer and a previous winner of the Round Ireland Race. 

Kilmore Quay RNLI attempted to keep the yacht afloat with pumps after it began to sink in ten–foot swells off the Saltee Islands.

Inis mor postYesterday's Facebook post on social media from onboard confirmed Inis Mor's location on the south coast and her final destination but just hours later the yacht sank (below)  Screengrab: Marine Traffic

inis mor position rescue

The Clyde–based yacht was was one of the biggest boats entered in the ICRA championships and was to compete at the three-day annual regatta starting on Thursday. sources say problems started when a toilet cracked on board and this led to the water ingress.

Published in ICRA

Three UK sailors, two men and a woman, were rescued off the Wexford coast this afternoon after their 39–foot yacht got into difficulty.

The yacht sank quickly after a toilet fractured and it started taking on water in ten–foot swells off the Saltee Islands.

The yacht began to sink and a Mayday call was made after three o'clock.

The search and rescue helicopter from Waterford airport managed to take the crew from the water. Kilmore Quay RNLI lifeboat also attended.

According to news, the three crew were brought to Waterford airport and did not need to go to hospital.

An RNLI spokeswoman told 'Three onboard evacuated into life raft where they were rescued by Waterford Coast Guard Helicopter. Kilmore Quay RNLI went onboard to try and pump water off the yacht and recovered the liferaft'.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
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