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#icra –The Irish Cruiser Racer Association (ICRA) has published details of provisional handicap divisons for its National Championships and Sovereign's Cup 2015 off Kinsale next month.

The sensible bands is a sensible arrangement of similar sized (if not speed) boats in each class which keeps competition tight in a very good turnout of at least 101 boats.

While there will no doubt be the inevitable usual thorny issue of production cruiser/racers say in IRC 0 (Beneteau First 40, Dufour 44, Salona 45 etc) having to compete with custom race boats (Mills 37, Ker 37, Ker 40 etc) this is always the challenge for IRC in how to equitably rate these different boat types. 

The make–up of a new class two fleet out of a previously unwieldly class one is the most noteworthy aspect of the new racing bands. The Beneteau 34.7 Black Velvet will be the scratch boat in the new class that also sees X332s separated from J109s. Modified Half–tonners, all now deemed to be fully optimised, are also now in the new 15–boat class two.

Each division is extremely competitive but especially so in class one where J109s Jelly Bay and Storm are lining up for honours with Rockabill, a Corby 33 and Bob Exemple (Xp33) in a super turnout of 20 class one entries. And more are expected.

In breaking out the 101 boat fleet, there are also 12 Class zeros.16 class three boats will be racing and 20 in class four. Two white sail divisions of ten and eight respectively make up the 2015 fleet.

Download the new divisions as a pdf file below.

ICRA's Barry Rose adds:

All five provisional DIVISIONS have attracted competitive fleets from all coasts of Ireland. This will be a true test of national champions. With equal status/trophies and ISA gold, silver and bronze mounted medals being awarded by ICRA to both IRC and Progressive ECHO, all entrants are given a fair chance to compete for overall honours.

Division 0 features a strong fleet from the Kerr 40 Keronimo to the Ker 37 Jump Juice, the Farr 42 WOW and the likes of Corby 36's Roxy 6 and Stratisfear against the Mills 36 Crazy Horse with local knowledge in Freya and Godot. Also Roxstar, another high-performer from Scotland.

Division 1 sees Corby 33 Rockabill challenge sister ship Imposter, and a clutch of J 109's which includes past champions Storm and Jellybaby together with competitive XP33 Bon Exemple. This class, including A35's Gringo and Fool's Gold – recent winner in Scottish series - is building to produce a great battle for honours.

Division 2 will see an equally intense contest between the likes of modified half-tonners Checkmate XV, The Big Picture and Harmony and the very competitive X332's Dexterity and Equinox and also with top-rater Black Velvet. Provisionally this is a new Division and should provide great racing for all – taking some boats from usual Divisions 1 and 2.

Division 3 again is ultra competitive with the Corby 25's, X302's and older but very competitive Slack Alice and Dis a Ray.

Division 4 has Black Fun, Cartoon, Cri-Cri and Supernova, the modified quarter tonners which are expected to dominate this class together with recent Solent winner Aquila. The J 24's Hard on Port, Ya Gotta Wanna and Crazy Horse, and the slippery Blazer 23 Shilelagh will be all out to upset the above predictions as will the Sigma 33's which include Sigma champion Tim Goodbody..

In addition the non-spinnaker Divisions, with a fine fleet of 18 boats, will compete for ICRA's Corinthian Cups on IRC and ECHO. Boats do not need endorsed IRC certs in these divisions.

Published in ICRA

#optimist – Optimist dinghy ace Micheal O'Suilleabhain of Kinsale Yacht Club took a well earned win on home waters yesterday with a ten–point margin in the senior fleet after six races sailed at the Munster championships. The 13–year–old beat the Royal St. George's Tom Higgins with Howth Yacht Club's Jamie McMahon third in the 41–boat main fleet. In the junior fleet 12-year–old Robert Keal beat club mate Harry Twomey in a one–two for Royal Cork Yacht Club. Results for both fleets are available to down laod below as jpeg files.

The Optimist Munsters had an excellent entry of 36 boats in the Regatta fleet, all very enthusiastic and rearing to go in the excellent conditions prevailing on Saturday. They sailed against the magnificent backdrop of Charlesfort and, with the promise of more wind for Sunday, the Race Officer got in four races on the day. The very active youngsters came ashore tired but vey satisfied with their day and looking forward to enjoying some time in Kinsale but aware of the fact they had to be rigged and ready to go to sea at 9.30am on Sunday. 

Following all this activity the young competitors set about tidying and packing away their gear in preparation for the journey home. The Regatta prizegiving was held separately from the Senior and Junior fleets. Some of the regatta sailors and their families were then able to leave early for the journey home to various parts of the country with a large contingent heading for Dublin.

Others had older brothers and sisters sailing in the two higher fleets and they were able to enjoy themselves around the club facilities while waiting for the second prize giving to finish.

Published in Optimist

#WilsonTrophy – Team racing's annual pinnacle, the Wilson Trophy, came to a close this afternoon with a worthy victor in West Kirby Hawks. Two Irish teams competed in the 22 rounds event.

The third and last day of racing on the Wirral seaside town's Marine Lake, overlooking the River Dee and with Wales as a backdrop, was roundly won by the local favourites, who beat Wessex Exempt 3-1 in the Final.

Kinsale Yacht Club and Howth Yacht Club finished 21st and 22nd from the 28 competing teams.  Download results below.

For the last day of the Wilson Trophy, the wind had swung into the south, blowing out of the River Dee estuary, starting in 15 knots gusting to 18, then veering and dropping to below 10, for the final rounds. The Swiss League qualifiers ended after 22 rounds, before moving into best of three Quarter Finals and Semis and best of five Finals. These truly showcased team racing at its very highest level, with spectators lining the shallow banks of the Marine Lake providing a soundtrack of gasps, whoops, hollas and outcrys as the titans of the sport slogged it out.

West Kirby Hawks hasn't won the Wilson Trophy since 2012, but the team is the reigning World Champion, following their victory in Schull, Ireland in 2011. In fact this year is the first time since Schull, that the World Championship winning line-up of Andrew Cornah, Ben Field, Dom Johnson, Hamish Walker, Tom Foster, Debs Steele have regrouped. The reason for 'getting the band back together' is the team's desire to defend its title this year at the ISAF Team Racing World Championship due to be held on Rutland Water in July.

"The Wilson is the pinnacle of team racing, because there are so many fantastic teams here pitting it out," explains West Kirby Hawks leader Dom Johnson, who flew in from Singapore especially for the event. Here he was reunited with his crew, Debs Steele, one of the most capped Wilson Trophy competitors of all time, having sailed it 23 times and been in the final 12 times. "If you look at any of the top eight teams, any one of them can perform and take races off the other."

Saying that, West Kirby Hawks finished the Swiss League qualifiers having only been beaten in three after 22 races. In fact throughout this Wilson Trophy they only suffered four defeats. However, as Johnson pointed out, their races "weren't walkovers. They were gritty races where we were having to do conversions and come-backs. There weren't too many 1-2-3 sail-aways. The conditions were part of that, because it was quite changeable, but that was great for us in terms of progression and practice."

The Finals also saw a number of incidents, including a major one which Johnson (fourth from the right above) admitted he may have caused, as he explained: "Mark 3 at the bottom of the run can often be a 'point of congestion' in team racing. In one race we felt in control with a 2-3-4, which is a winning combination, and there was a slight boat handling error on my part: I was trying to gybe across, spun out slightly in a puff and crashed into my team mate and also the opposition boat that was trying to do a mark trap. So I caused a bit of mayhem." That was in the only race of the Final in which the Hawks suffered a defeat.

Some eminent sailors failed to make the grade. One of the most promising teams, from the Royal Dee Yacht Club, led by Team GBR Nacra 17 sailor Ben Saxton, ended up being knocked out in the Semi-Finals, a repeat of their performance here last year. Sailing with Saxton was 'super crew' Toby Lewis. "One of the reasons we have done okay is that we are all fast sailors and boat speed is important because it makes your tactics a lot easier if you are quick," observed Lewis for whom this was his seven Wilson Trophy. "They are all very good sailors here - it is a challenge."

London 2012 Olympic 470 silver medallist Stuart Bithell was racing as part of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy team: "It has been a brilliant Wilson Trophy for us - I think we've had the most wins we've ever had, even though we didn't make the Quarters. In fact we were quite up and down – we'd have a really good run and then we'd start racing better teams and it became trickier..." While this is only his third time at the Wilson Trophy with the WPNSA team, Bithell originally raced the Wilson a nipper, when he represented his original club, Hollingworth Lake, near Rochdale.

In summary, West Kirby Sailing Club Commodore Phil Shepherd commented: "It has been a fantastic weekend - everything went well. The boats held together very nicely and the number of races, the speed of turn-arounds speaks for itself. The quality of the competitors was also amazing. This is certainly the most competitive Wilson Trophy I have ever witnessed."

And in case you are wondering, the total number of races run by PRO Adam Whittle and his team at this year's Wilson Trophy was...324.

Top five:
West Kirby Hawks
Wessex Exempt
Royal Dee YC
Yale Corinthian YC
Bristol University

Published in Team Racing

#cruiserracing – The south coast's biggest sailing event of the year was launched today on board the Irish Naval vessel LE Eithne by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for the Marine. The ICRA cruiser-racer National Championships event is to be hosted by Kinsale Yacht Club as part of its Sovereign's Cup event from 24th-27th June 2015.

The four-day event will decide four national titles as well as the Sovereign's Cup. Over 80 boats have registered so far for the event and this figure is expected to exceed 100 over the next two months.

At least 10 crews have entered from the UK and sailing crews from almost every coastal county in Ireland will attend the co-hosting of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) National Championship with the 10th biennial Sovereign's Cup regatta.

Minister Coveney praised the co-operation between all the stakeholders and cited the event as a prime example of what can be achieved to bring benefits to whole communities when clubs and associations work closely with business groups and local authorities to organise world class events

Many of the Ireland's best racing crews will be competing for the Sovereigns' Cup under the international IRC handicap system that is also used to decide the ICRA national championship titles. The Portcullis Trophy will be awarded to competitors under the ECHO handicap system.

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The Sovereigns Cup 2015 was launched on board the Naval Service flagship LE Eithne in Dublin by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food, the Marine and Defence (right) pictured with Mike Walsh, Regatta Director Kinsale YC, Norbert Reilly, Commodore Irish Cruiser Racing Association and Ensign Ben Crumplin. Photo: David Branigan

Published in Sovereign's Cup

#Kinsale - Kinsale Yacht Club will host an Open Day from 2-5pm next Sunday 15 March, and Rear Commodore Caroline Forde has invited anyone to come, enjoy a cuppa and chat, and take a tour of the clubhouse.

Boat trips out of the KYC marina will also be available, weather permitting, while the club will be hosting a competition for free membership among other prizes.

It comes ahead of Kinsale's pre-St Patrick's Day maritime parade on Monday 16 March, for which participating boats will parade past the pier head, followed by refreshments in the clubhouse afterwards.

Published in Kinsale

#kinsale – After last week's postponement, KInsale Yacht Club race organisers were delighted to get three races in today although only the Full Rig Lasers, Squibs and a solitary RS 400 braved the elements. Winds were Southerly veering to South Westerly and remained steady at 10 knots with occasional gusts of 14 knots. Race Officer John Stallard organised a rapid turnaround between races, mindful of the chilly conditions.
Monkstown's Ronan Kenneally swept the leader board again today with 3 bullets in the Laser Full Rig fleet. This places him as the current overall leader for the series on 7 points with the next closest rival being fellow Monstown sailor Paul O'Sullivan on 12 points.
Ewan O'Keeffe was the solitary representative of the RS400 fleet however they proved themselves an able match for the Squib fleet and certainly seemed to relish the conditions. Racing in the KYC dominated Squib fleet is proving extremely competitive indeed. There are even rumours of Saturday practice sessions! In fact today's competition lead to the dismasting of one of the squibs, the mast had a previous repair which gave way. Fortunately helm Joe O'Connell (Sail No. 487) and his crew were uninjured and efficiently rescued by KYC Cruiser Class Captain Nigel Dann & helpers on board the trusty Fiona.
With only 2 more days of racing Colm Dunne & Rob Gill (Allegro 134) have a firm lead on 7 points but are hotly pursued by KYC's Commodore Finbarr O'Regan & his son Colm ( Fagin 100) on 12 points. Once again a ferocious battle is raging for third position with KYC's Victor Fusco & Ruth Ennis (Espresso 150) on 26 points, fellow Club mate Mark Buckley (Sail No. 4) on 28 points and Squib newcomer Amy McCarthy & Dave Gibbons (Lazarus 483) on a very credible 30 points.

Published in Kinsale
Tagged under

#kinsale – While the bulk of the early entries for the ICRA Nationals, now totalling 42, come from the domestic fleet the championships that runs in conjunction with June's Sovereign's Cup has also attracted a number of early UK entries.

Yealm Yacht Club, near Plymouth, will be represented by the Ker 40, Geronimo (Andy Williams). Coming from Wales is Neyland Yacht Club's Corby 36 Roxy 6 of Milford Haven (Robert Davies) and sistership Stratisfear (Guy Cowper) is also coming across the Irish Sea, from Royal Dee Yacht Club.

Organisers report a buoyant take up before the early bird deadline this weekend.

The current entry list is downloadable below as a PDF file.  

Published in ICRA

#cruiserracing – ICRA are reporting a buoyant line–up of early entries for its national championships to be sailed off the Cork coast in June. The 2015 Irish cruiser–racer National Championships has attracted an early entry of 40 boats from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. An expected fleet of over 100 will sail in the combined ICRA and Sovereign's Cup event at Kinsale Yacht Club. 

The discounted early bird entry deadline is February 14. 

Published in ICRA

#kinsaleyachtclub – Day two of the ASM Kinsale Yacht Club frostbite series saw typical frostbite weather, cold, bright, sunny with near perfect sailing conditions. The wind was 10–knots gusting to 12.5 from NNW. Each of the 5 fleets got 3 great races in shifting conditions which made it a great test for all competitors. Each of the fleets had close racing, especially the ever popular Squib Fleet.

Race Officer & KYC Sailing Secretary, John Stallard was delighted to see the arrival this week of the RS400 fleet which has added greatly to competition and made for a beautiful spectacle in the bright sunshine on Kinsale inner harbour.

Maeve Leonard from RCYC appeared out today in the Laser Radial fleet and produced 3 bullets to dispense with all opposition. Her club mate Luke McGrath achieved the same result in the Laser 4.7 fleet.

The Full rig fleet was smaller today and the field is led by Monkstown's Ronan Kenneally followed by Club mate Paul O'Sullivan.

In the Squib fleet KYC's Colm Dunne and Rob Gill have an astonishing result of 6 bullets after 6 races, they are hotly pursued by KYC's Commodore Finny O'Regan and his son Colm.

Sail number 1260 takes the lead in the fledgling RS400 fleet.

Racing continues next week....

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Squibs on a Run

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Maeve Leonard of RCYC looking happy with 3 wins from 3 races

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KYC's Colm Dunne & Rob Gill in their Squib Allegro, in the lead with 6 bullets after 6 races...

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Committee Boat stalwart Sue Horgan

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Lasers heading to Castlepark


All photos courtesy of Seamus McLaverty of ASM Marine

Published in Kinsale

#kinsale – American travel bloggers, Monique Davis and Drake Roberts (DrakeParagon), who are living on their boat on Kinsale Yacht Club Marina for the next few months, made this short video over the past few days with clear skies and good weather conditions showing off the south coast town to be the beautiful and special place.

Published in Kinsale
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