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Next month's ICRA Nationals at Howth Yacht Club will feature what looks like the 'hottest cruiser fleet of the year' when class one boats resume battle after last year's epic clash at Kinsale. 

Paul O'Higgins new JPK 10.80 will be up against some good J109's (including John Maybury's Joker which won ICRAs in 2015, Jelly Baby from Cork, Storm from Howth and J/109 newcomer Tim Goodbody). Also in the class one mix will be the A35 Fools Gold which was second to Joker at Kinsale and also won the Scottish series 2015 overall. Former champion, the XP33 Bon Exemple, skippered by Philip Byrne of the Royal Irish, is also a contender.

The cruiser racer body says its decision to apply 'equal status and trophies to IRC and Progressive Echo has attracted support' and overall entries for the championships is now in the sixties. The event is timed to lead into the Round Ireland​,​ WIORA and Cork Week and Calves Week in a summer of​ ​racing highlights.

Although an early discount deadline has now passed, organisers have made the decision to extend it, presumably because they see there is still lots of potential entries to still emerge in each division.

Class two should be very competitive as well with four Half Tonners vying against the home club's X332 Equinox (Ross McDonald) plus a few others. Half tonners won't have their pro sailors however as ICRA rules only allow pros in classes 0 and 1.

dux howth yaacht club

Dux from HYC will compete in class three

Class three will see Fusion the Corby 25 of Colwell, Cobbe and Ronan pushed by likes of Anthony Gore Grimes in Dux, the Sigma 33 s and the ICRA Commodore's family boat from Foynes Yacht Club, the McGibney's Dis a Ray. 

The event is under the experienced Chairmanship of Chris Howard who has twice before run championships with ICRA at this County Dublin venue. 

The programme will provide seven races over three day from Friday 10th to Sun 12th June with a mix of windward/leeward courses and interesting round the cans courses.

ICRA will be presenting overall matching perpetual trophies for IRC and ECHO in each Division in addition to ISA Gold, Silver and Bronze medals smartly mounted which are unique to the National championships.

ICRA's Corinthian Cups are also competed for in both Progressive Echo and IRC will provide equally interesting courses, specifically designed for the non spinnaker divisions with overall trophies and glass mountings as prizes.

Published in ICRA

The ICRA Nationals returns to Howth Yacht Club in early June, timed to lead into the Round Ireland​,​ WIORA and Cork Week and Calves Week to round off a summer of​ ​racing.

The ​combination of IRC and Progressive Echo divisions in all Classes with equal Trophies and ISA National Championship Gold, Silver and Bronze medals ensures strong interest through the fleets.  The event is under the experienced Chairmanship of Chris Howard who has twice before run championships with ICRA at this County Dublin venue. 

An early entry list is admittedly still building but it already features top boats with the likes of Conor Phelan's Jump Juice returning from his success in March's RORC's Easter Challenge.

Early indications are that the hottest fleet could be in class one where, like ICRAs in 2015, some of the most competitive sailing took place. Paul O'Higgins new JPK 10.80 will be up against some good J109's (including John Maybury's Joker which won ICRAs in 2015, Jelly Baby from Cork, Storm from Howth and J/109 newcomer Tim Goodbody). Also in the class one mix will be the A35 Fools Gold which was second to Joker at Kinsale and also won the Scottish series 2015 overall. Former champion, the XP33 Bon Exemple, skippered by Philip Byrne, is also a contender.

Class two should be competitive as well with four Half Tonners vying against the home club's X332 Equinox (Ross McDonald) plus a few others. Half tonners won't have their pro sailors however as ICRA rules only allow pros in classes 0 and 1.

Class three will see Fusion the Corby 25 of Colwell, Cobbe and Ronan pushed by likes of Anthony Gore Grimes in Dux, the Sigma 33 s and of course, the ICRA Commodore's family boat from Foynes Yacht Club, the McGibney's Dis a Ray. 

Class four will see current National Champions Kilcullen the local Howth Yacht Club youth J24 team take on the J24 fleet including the ICRA Commodore Simon MC Gibney the well sailed quarter Tonners and likes of Impalas who can all feature on their day

The Corinthian Cup​s​ ​are well established for the non spinnaker boats and ​are expected to attract a large fleet.

The early Discount deadline for the ICRA Nationals is 6 th May so get your entry in and enjoy great racing and a fun social scene ashore.

Published in ICRA

Things are on the move again. There’s a buzz in the air. W M Nixon anticipates the sailing possibilities for 2016 in a fixtures list so diverse that he reckons that anyone who thinks they know everything that’s going on clearly doesn’t.

If you want anything done, then ask a busy man to do it. And the busier people are ashore, the keener they are to get afloat when they can. There was nothing more sluggish than the sailing and boating scene during the recession years. There was less zest for going sailing when you’d all the time in the world to do it because there was nothing to do ashore. And anyway, as a vehicle sport, sailing was a very identifiable expense which could be reduced or even discarded as the recession rumbled on.

Of course, it wasn’t as simple as that. Anyone with businesses to run knew they’d to keep a very close eye on things all the time if they were to survive at all. Thus we became experts at the short sailing break. The four day regatta became all the rage, and even if the good times roll again as never before, it seems likely the four day regatta is going to stay popular.

It’s indicative of amazingly changed times. Today, it’s beyond imagination to realise that at the height of Scotland’s industrial pomp around Glasgow for eighty years into the 1960s, there used to be a Clyde Fortnight. Two whole weeks of sailing on the trot. Except for Sundays of course, when the church services became yachting events. But even with that spiritual input, it was conspicuous consumption gone mad to be able to show you’d the resources and free time to go off yacht racing for a clear fortnight, knowing your employees – or rather, your inherited company’s employees – would keep those profits and dividends rolling in while you swanned about on the bonnie waters of the Firth.

It took special stamina, too. But times and tastes have changed in any case. There are so many other sports, entertainments and interests vying for our attention these days that sailing has to keep re-inventing itself to make its mark. Yet beneath it all there’s still that elementally simple appeal so eloquently expressed by the folksy Floridian Clark Mills, who in 1947 created the Optimist dinghy:

“A boat, by God, it’s just a gleamin’ beautiful creation. And when you pull the sail up on a boat, you’ve got a little bit of really somethin’ God-given. Man, it goes bleetin’ off like a bird’s wing, you know, and there’s nothin’ else like it”.

It’s still as simple as that. So apart from the usual frostbite races and leagues, it’s more than appropriate that the first major sailing event in Ireland in 2016 is the legendary Optimist Training Week at Baltimore during the half term break in February. Yes folks, February. For sure, we know that in the old Irish calendar, February 1st is St Brigid’s Day, and officially the first day of Spring. But for many sailors, St Patrick’s Day on March 17th is about as early as we want to get. And for most of us, Easter is quite soon enough, thank you.

162
A harvest of Optys – Optimists racing at the Cork Dinghyfest 2015 in conditions rather different from those they’ll be expecting at Baltimore in February. Photo: Robert Bateman

Nevertheless we salute the keen Opty kids who in February drag their families along with them down to Baltimore – even unto the family dog – in a caravanserai which tells us much about Irish sailing. But what we also know is that Irish sailing is universal, and from times past we’re well aware that our new season is reckoned to start with the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race on December 26th in the dying days of the old year. So the up-coming dash to Hobart is when our new year begins, and back in December 2012 when Gordon Maguire won it overall - his second overall win in this great Australian annual classic - he was undisputed Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” for January 2013.

As we’re on the cruiser-racer theme, we’ll stay with it for now through to the August fixtures, and anyone totally into dinghies and nothing else is invited to scroll down a dozen paragraphs to where we emerge from the world of truck-racing for a consideration of the Olympics, the inshore racing classes, and the dinghies.

But for now staying with cruiser-racers, in recent months Gordon Maguire has been making the Mediterranean scene with success aboard the Mark Mills-designed Max 72 Caol Ila (ex-Alegre), but as the Australian season currently swings back into top gear, he’s in the Matt Allen camp aboard the Carkeek 60 Ichi Ban. However, another Irish line of interest continues with Wicklow-based designer Mark Mills, whose newest 45ft footer Concubine – fresh built in Dubai – is going to an Adelaide owner who will have her at optimum trim for her first big outing in the Hobart race.

163Flying machine. The new Mark Mills-designed 45ft Concubine arrives in Australia on November 22nd

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the Optimists gearing up for their February Sailfest in Baltimore, things at home really start on Friday February 4th when the Irish sailing focus closes in on the august yet friendly premises of the Royal College of Surgeons on Stephens Green in the heart of Dublin for the annual ISA/Afloat.ie National Sailing Awards. Sailors of the Month, Sailor of the Year, Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year and many other well-earned awards will be swept through in a festival of mutual congratulation and camaraderie which perfectly captures the spirit of a sport which has a longer history in Ireland than anywhere else.

164Can they do it again? The Royal Cork Yacht Club – with Marine Minister Simon Coveney – at the ISA/Afloat.ie Sailing Awards 2014 ceremony in the RCSI in Dublin on Friday 6th March 2015, when they swept the board and took the Mitsubishi Motors “Club of the Year” award for good measure. The 2015 awards will be presented at the same venue on Friday, February 4th 2016.

University sailing also comes top of the bill in the Springtime, with the Irish championship seeing titleholders UCD defend a position which also saw them representing Ireland at the Student Yachting Worlds in France in October, when they placed third overall. It sounds reasonable enough, but Ireland has won the Worlds a couple of times in the recent past, so there’s work to be done here.

Another area where work is being done is in the growing interest for Under 25 Squads in doing great things with revitalised J/24s. Cillian Dickson of Howth led his Under 25 group to success both in J/24 and open racing in 2015 with the J/24 Kilcullen, and the word is that 2016 will see at least three similar teams making the scene at national and local events.

But for boats with a lid, the top item on the agenda has to be the fact that this is a biennial Commodores’ Cup year, and we’re the defenders. In 2014, thanks to the single-minded determination of Anthony O’Leary, a competitive three boat team was somehow assembled from some very disparate parts, and the title - won in 2010 but undefended in 2012 in the depths of the recession - was re-taken in very positive style after a week of ferocious racing in late July in the Solent.

165Ireland nicely placed at the start of the Round the Island Race in the Commodore’s Cup 2014, with two British boats neatly sandwiched between Catapult (red hull) and Antix (silver hull). Catapult is now Antix, while the former Antix has been sold to Sweden.

The RORC Brewin Dolphin Commodore’s Cup 2016 will be raced from Cowes from 23rd to 30th July 2016, and far from having to scrape around to assemble a team, the word is that ICRA may be mounting a two team defence/challenge on our behalf, as the RORC event has seen the rating band lowered to 1,000 to make it attractive to boats like J/109s. These super boats are finally taking off in Ireland as a premier class. It has taken some time, but as we’ve been saying for years, the J/109 might have been designed with the Irish context in mind, and they’re going to be a major part of our sailing for many years to come.

166They might have been designed precisely with Irish requirements in mind…….the J/109 class is finally beginning to take off at all main centres.

Through the season, cruiser-racer events swing into action at every level, both at home and nearby abroad, with the RORC Easter Challenge in the Solent (Antix defending for Ireland here), the Silver’s Marine Scottish Series at Tarbert from May 27-30 (Rob McConnell’s A35 Fool’s Gold from Dunmore East is the defender) and then the big home one, the ICRA Nats at Howth from June 10th to 12th, staged just a week after Howth’s at-home major, the Lambay Races on June 4th.

167ICRA racing at its best – Liam Burke’s Corby 25 Tribal from Galway making knots at Kinsale in the ICRA Nats 2015. The ICRA Nats 2016 are at Howth from June 10th to 12th. Photo: ICRA

Meanwhile the re-vitalised ISORA programme (defending champion is Shanahan family’s J/109 Ruth from the National YC) will have swung into action in the Irish Sea with a stated commitment to impinge adversely as little as possible – if at all – on long-established events, but for serious old salts the real story in June will be the countdown to the Volvo Round Ireland Race from Wicklow on Saturday June 18th.

Volvo Cars Ireland are in for the long haul on this one. So their first outing with the classic biennial circuit will be run fairly conservatively in the knowledge that legislation is going through the Dail to re-organise the administration of Wicklow Harbour (among other ports). Thus it’s on the cards that in the future, Wicklow Sailing Club and their supportive new sponsor will find they have a harbour much-improved to host visiting boats. But for 2016, the Royal Irish YC in Dun Laoghaire will be providing support berths for larger craft, as too will Greystones Marina in between.

168
International participation in the biennial Round Ireland Race – Piet Vroon’s famous Ker 46 Tonnere de Breskens making away from the Wicklow starting line on a perect summer’s day. In 2016, Volvo Cars Ireland will be starting a longterm sponsorship of the race.

But even with the current facilities, it’s going to be quite a happening with serious multi-hulls involved for the first time, and Grand Prix racers of the calibre of George David’s Rambler 88 stepping up to the plate, while in the body of the fleet the Shanahan’s Ruth has unfinished business – in 2014 they missed the win by seven minutes to Richard Harris’s Tanit from Scotland.

Until this late-June stage of the season, the south coast will have been fairly quiet in terms of events with an international flavour, but all that changes between 10th and 15th July when the Royal Cork’s Volvo Cork Week swings into action with the added interest (to put it mildly) of the IRC European Championship. This completely new event – a joint venture between the RORC and the RCYC – is still at the developmental stage, but with some far-thinking organisers behind it such as Anthony O’Leary of Royal Cork and Michael Boyd of RORC, it has all the makings of something very special indeed, and will blend in well with July’s expanding European programme as teams work on their performance with the Commodores’ Cup at the end of July providing the Grand Finale.

But of course not everyone seeks the international limelight. There are plenty of local events to keep cruiser-racers busy, and the WIORA Championship 2016 will be from June 29th to July 02nd, hosted by the very venerable Royal Western of Ireland Yacht at Kilrush, which is itself a place re-born since the marina and harbour were taken over by leading harbour engineers L & M Keating.

Inevitably with the August Bank Holiday Monday being precisely on August 1st, traditional events in 2016 will find themselves being compressed into that first week of August, but if you were really keen it might be just be possible to finish the WIORA at Kilrush and then hare round to Schull for Calves Week from Tuesday August 2nd to Friday August 5th, but there are probably too many temptations on the way as you progress along Ireland’s top cruising coast.

However, if you’re not into total relax mode by the time August arrives, then there’s the Olympics in Rio to gather you up in its crazy five ring circus with the sailing events in a continuous tapestry from 5th August 21st August. The Irish challenge for the 2016 Olympiad is still in something of a state of flux as three places have been secured with other possibilities, but the whole thing is total melting-pot stuff, so it’s too early yet to make predictions.

But you don’t have to look to Rio for stellar performance in 2016 as we’ve top level dinghy racing coming to Ireland with the Laser Radial Youth World Championship being hosted in a joint venture by Dun Laoghaire Harbour and the Royal St George YC from Saturday July 23rd to Saturday July 30th, yet another event which has relevance in a different context as the administration of Dun Laoghaire Harbour could well be in a new context in the near future.

Any overview of the dinghy and inshore keelboat scene soon reminds you of the exasperation some observers feel at a global sport which boasts something like 143 recognised World Championships in its annual international programme. And that’s only counting World Championships. Add in Europeans, and numbers increase exponentially, but we have a Europeans in Ireland in 2016 with the Mirrors gathering from 7th to 12th August for racing with one of the most interesting little boats afloat at the RCYC in Crosshaven.

169Yet another new boat design. But the new Phil Morrison-designed National 18 has been making a very good impression in Cork Harbour. Photo: Robert Bateman

For their owners, all boats are interesting - that’s the way it is with boats. Indeed, for many participants, it’s not so much the sport as the vehicles themselves which are the raison d’etre of the whole business. And thus we find that in Ireland as elsewhere, traditional, classic and vintage boats are moving ever higher up the agenda with each season’s programme-making.

It could be argued that there’s nowhere better in the world to find such intriguing and individual boats playing an accepted and natural role in the sailing scene than in the Greater Dublin region. 2016 may also be witnessing the centenary of the Easter Rising and the Irish Revolution. But despite the turmoil of a hundred years ago, we’re basically a very settled and civilised society, and when we find a boat type we like, we tend to stay with her. And equally as a reasonable society we will happily accept the restrictions of one design racing in order to provide affordable sport.

Thus around Dublin we can find the Water Wags whose class organisation dates back to 1886, even if the boats themselves are the new-fangled version from around 1902 or thereabouts. Equally part of the scene are the Howth 17s, undiluted since 1898. And even boats which we think of as new – such as the International Dragons – are now vintage and some of their best racing in 2016 will be in Glandore where the presiding genius is Don Street and Gypsy, numbering 167 years between them, though it’s rude to ask which way the division falls.

1610
Back to her birthplace. Ian Malcolm’s Howth 17 Aura at Carrickfergus, where she was built by John Hilditch in 1898. Several vintage Hilditch-built boats plan to join the 150th Anniversary celebrations of Carrickfergus Sailing Club and the Royal Ulster yacht Club on Belfast Lough next June. Photo: Damian Cronin

Part of the traditional and classic boat scene in Dublin is the annual Leinster Trophy Race of the Dublin Bay Old Gaffers Association at the June Bank Holiday, and newly-elected DBOGA President denis Aylmer with his Cornish Crabber Mona is defending champion. But this year the classic focus shifts to Belfast Lough at the end of June, as both Carrickfergus Sailing Club and Royal Ulster Yacht Club are celebrating their 150th Anniveraries.

They’ll have many separate events, but as Carrickfergus was also the location of the famous Hilditch boat-building yard where many famous wooden one designs were built between 1892 and 1914, there’ll be a Hilditch Regatta at Carrickfergus morphing into a RUYC Classic Yacht Festival across Belfast Lough at Bangor between Wednesday June 22nd and Monday June 27th, with vintage fleets eligible including Strangford Lough Rivers, the Glens, Howth 17s, Belfast Lough Waverleys, Ballyholme Bays and indeed any classics willing to travel such as Water Wags and vintage Dragons.

1611
Senior Hilditch boat. The Mylne-designed Belfast Lough Island Class yawl Trasnagh, seen here under her new Bermudan rig in 1933, is expected to join the 150th Anniversary celebrations in Belfast Lough in the summer of 2016. Photo courtesy RNIYC

1612As she was, so she is again. Tern – seen here in 1898 – has been so faithfully restored in 2015 that she even has replicated the inverted 2 for her sail number 7. They couldn’t find a 7 in the sailmakers loft when the boats were being commissioned in a hurry in May 1897. Photo courtesy RUYC

There may even be an appearance by two of the Hilditch daddies of them all, the Fife-designed Belfast Lough Class I 25ft LWL OD Tern of 1897 vintage which has re-emerged in the Mediterranean so effectively restored that she won her class at Les Voiles de St Tropez in September 2015, and the Mylne-designed 39ft LOA Island Class yawl Trasnagh, built in 1913 to join her sisters at Cultra anchorage to make up a fleet of the worlds first true cruiser-racer one designs.

At the other end of the size scale, one of the best new events of 2015 was the Dinghyfest at Royal Cork in August, which was such a success straight out of the box that they’re going to run it again in 2016 on much the same format, and the word is that classes are already queuing to take part in something which could well be a very welcome distraction from Olympic angst.

MAIN 2016 SAILING EVENTS OF IRISH INTEREST 

February 4th ISA/Afloat.ie Annual Awards RCSI, Dublin

May 27th to 30th Silver’s Scottish Series Tarbert, Loch Fyne

June 10th to 12th ICRA Nats Howth

June 18th Volvo Round Ireland Race Wicklow

June 22nd to 27th Belfast Lough Classics Carrickfergus & Bangor

July 10th to 15th Volvo Cork Week & IRC Europeans Royal Cork YC

July 23rd to 30th Laser Youth Radial Worlds RStGYC

July 23rd to 30th Brewin Dolphin Commodore’s Cup Cowes

August 5th to 21st Sailing Olympics 2016 Rio de Janeiro

August 7th to 12th Mirror Europeans Royal Cork YC

October 1st to 2nd All-Ireland Helmsman’s Championship

October Student Yachting World Cup France

October 22nd Rolex Middle Sea Race Malta

2016 ISA FIXTURE LIST

StartEndNameBoat ClassVenue
06/02/16 07/02/16 IUSA Westerns Fireflies Killaloe SC
25/02/16 28/02/16 IUSA Varsities Fireflies Kenmare
26/03/16 27/03/16 Munster Championships Laser Baltimore Sailing Club
10/04/16 10/04/16 Traveller 1 Topper East Down YC
23/04/16 24/04/16 Mirror Westerns Mirror Sligo YC
23/04/16 24/04/16 Ulster Championships Laser Coounty Antrim Yacht Club
23/04/16 24/04/16 RS400 Easterns RS Royal St George YC
23/04/16 24/04/16 RS200 Easterns RS Royal St George YC
24/04/16 24/04/16 Traveller 2 Topper Lough Derg YC
08/05/16 08/05/16 Traveller 3 Topper Wexford Harbour B&TC
14/05/16 16/05/16 Leinster Optimist Championships Optimist Royal St George YC
14/05/16 15/05/16 Optimist Leinsters Optimist Royal St George YC
21/05/16 22/05/16 Ulster Championships Topper Donaghadee SC
21/05/16 22/05/16 GP14 OT & Purcell GP14 Swords Sailing & BC
21/05/16 22/05/16 J/24 Northerrns J/24 Sligo YC
21/05/16 22/05/16 RS400 Northerns RS Cushendall Sailing & Boating Club
27/05/16 29/05/16 Sportsboat Cup 2016 Various Howth YC
27/05/16 29/05/16 Dragon East Coast Championship Dragon Royal Irish YC
28/05/16 29/05/16 Squib Northern Championship Squib Killyleagh SC
04/06/16 04/06/16 Lambay Races 2016 All Classes Howth YC
10/06/16 12/06/16 ICRA National Championships 2016 Cruisers Howth YC
10/06/16 12/06/16 Wayfarer National Championship Wayfarer Ramor Watersports Club
11/06/16 12/06/16 Optimist Connaughts Optimist Foynes YC
18/06/16   Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race Cruisers Wicklow SC
18/06/16 18/06/16 Royal Alfred Bloomsday Regatta All Classes National YC
18/06/16 19/06/16 Leinster Championships Topper Skerries SC
25/06/16 26/06/16 GP14 Ulsters GP14 East Down YC
25/06/16 26/06/16 RS400 Westerns RS Sligo YC
25/06/16 26/06/16 RS200 Westerns RS Sligo YC
01/07/16 01/07/16 Optimist VP Team Racing Cup Optimist Malahide YC
01/07/16 03/07/16 White Sails and Non Spinnaker Team Challenge Cruisers Royal St George YC
01/07/16 03/07/16 Dingy West 2016 - Sailing the Wild Atlantic All Dinghies Galway Bay Sailing Club
02/07/16 03/07/16 Connaught Championships Laser Lough Derg YC
02/07/16 03/07/16 Optimist Ulsters Optimist Malahide YC
02/07/16 03/07/16 J/24 Southerns J/24 Royal Cork YC
02/07/16 03/07/16 Fireball Leinsters Fireball Wexford Harbour B&TC
02/07/16 04/07/16 Irish Nationals Topper Royal Cork YC
10/07/16 15/07/16 Volvo Cork Week & IRC European Championships Various Royal Cork YC
15/07/16 17/07/16 Ruffian 23 National Championship Ruffian 23 Dun Laoghaire MYC
16/07/16 17/07/16 Optimist Crosbie Cup Optimist Lough Ree YC
16/07/16 17/07/16 Leinster Championships Laser National YC
17/07/16 17/07/16 Traveller 4 Topper Carrickfergus SC
22/07/16 24/07/16 Mirror National Championships Mirror Sutton Dinghy Club
23/07/16 30/07/16 Laser Radial World Championships (Men's & Youth's) Laser Royal St George YC
23/07/16 24/07/16 GP14 Leinsters GP14 Sutton Dinghy Club
23/07/16 24/07/16 RS400 Southerns RS Lough Ree YC
23/07/16 24/07/16 RS200 Southerns RS Lough Ree YC
23/07/16 29/07/16 World Championships Topper Ballyholme YC
29/06/16 02/07/16 WIORA 2016 Cruisers Royal Western YC
30/07/16 01/08/16 Arklow Maritime Festival All Classes Arklow SC
06/08/16 07/08/16 J/24 Westerns J/24 Lough Ree YC
07/08/16 07/08/16 Sutton Dinghy Regatta All Classes Sutton Dinghy Club
07/08/16 12/08/16 Mirror Europeans 2016 Mirror Royal Cork YC
09/08/16 11/08/16 420 Nationals 420 Howth YC
12/08/16 13/08/16 Sailability President's Cup Various Kinsale YC
12/08/16 14/08/16 Fireball Nationals Fireball Howth YC
15/08/16 19/08/16 Optimist Irish Nationals Optimist Lough Derg YC
19/08/16 21/08/16 Squib Irish National Championship Squib Kinsale YC
20/08/16 23/08/16 National Championships Laser Galway Bay Sailing Club
26/08/16 28/08/16 RS400 Irish Nationals RS Schull Harbour SC
26/08/16 28/08/16 RS400 Irish Nationals RS Schull Harbour SC
27/08/16 29/08/16 GP14 Irish & Masters GP14 Skerries SC
27/08/16 28/08/16 Munster Championships Topper Kinsale YC
27/08/16 28/08/16 Mirror Northerns Mirror Royal North Of Ireland YC
27/08/16 28/08/16 Topper Munster Championship Topper Kinsale YC
28/08/16 28/08/16 Taste of Greystones Cruiser Regatta Cruisers Greystones SC
31/08/16 04/09/16 Dragon Irish Championship Dragon Kinsale YC
02/09/16 04/09/16 J/24 Nationals J/24 Royal St George YC
03/09/16 04/09/16 Wayfarer Inland Championship Wayfarer Callaun SC
10/09/16 11/09/16 Optimist Munsters Optimist Royal Cork YC
10/09/16 11/09/16 Fireball Munsters Fireball Killaloe SC
11/09/16 11/09/16 Traveller 5 Topper Killyleagh SC
17/09/16 18/09/16 All Ireland Inter-Schools Championship All Classes Sutton Dinghy Club
24/09/16 25/09/16 GP14 Autumn & Youth GP14 Sligo YC
24/09/16 25/09/16 ISA All Ireland Youth Championships TBC TBC
01/10/16 02/10/16 ISA All Ireland Senior Championships J80 TBC
15/10/16 16/10/16 Squib Inland Championship/Freshwater Regatta Squib Lough Derg YC
Published in W M Nixon

#wiora – The 2014 West of Ireland (WIORA) champion is Tribal, Liam Burke's Galway Bay Sailing Club based Corby 25 that produced four wins from seven races in last week's WIORA championships at Mayo Sailing Club. Burke's scoreline was good enough to win class 2 IRC ahead of top Foynes contender Dis–A–Ray, a Dehler 34, and take the overall award too, in a series that had everything from flat calms, forked lightning plus some very good Clew Bay breezes to boot. 

IT was a "WIORA West Coast Championship to remember..."

That is how Simon McGibney, Commodore of the association described the 2014 West Coast Championship event hosted by Mayo Sailing Club in the waters of Clew Bay.

While Team Ireland was taking honours at the Commodores Cup in the UK, the Irish domestic sailing community on the west coast was battling it out for the 2014 WIORA title under the stunning backdrop of Croagh Patrick leaving everyone wowed by the experience.

And that is certainly how the 200 or so competitors felt leaving the event after Tribal, sailing out of Galway Bay Sailing Club, lifted the coveted trophy as overall winner of WIORA 2014. A worthy title holder in an event where everyone was victorious in some way shape or form.

But it was Liam Burke's Corby 25 that won four of the seven races in Class two and was always staying in the mix by adding a 2nd and 3rd on Day 3 and 4 of the event that was enough for the Galway boat to take the honours in what was a hotly contested division.

Tribal and its crew now take the title back to Galway Docks where the 2015 event will be hosted by their home club of GBSC.

Race Officer Alan Crosbie, on receiving a small presentation from the Eoghan Cunningham, Commodore of Mayo Sailing Club, said it is an event he loves to see coming around every year, "and one I will not miss, because when I get the call I just say yes straight away." WIORA he said, "is a great event close to my heart".

On hosting the event, the ever popular MSC Commodore Eoghan Cunningham said that in the lead up to WIORA, "I was dreading it, but now I just don't want the week to end".

Receiving a huge round of applause, the WIORA sub committee at Mayo SC, together with Eoghan at its head were praised for their hosting of the event – even the little things like all the race competitors being delivered choc ices on Friday while drifting on the waters of Clew Bay under the summer sun as the crews waited for the breeze to fill in – to a care package of cold beers delivered to every boat as they completed the long coastal race at the conclusion of the event – will go a long way to indeed making WIORA 2014 one to remember.

Congrats to all at Mayo Sailing Club, to the helpers, to the race officers and flag boat crew, to the rib drivers, to the staff at the club house, to the WIORA committee, to the competitors that raced in every possible weather condition including thunder and lightening, to those ashore that waited and supported and to those that we forgot – we thank you and we look forward to meeting on the water again soon and if not, certainly back at Galway Docks in 2015 when the battle will commence to see who can take the West Coast Championship title off the crew of Tribal.

WIORA West Coast Championship 2014 Winners

Overall WIORA West Coast Championship Winner Tribal (GBSC)

Class 1 IRC Winner Now What (GBSC)

Runner Up TK Lean Machine (GBSC)

Class 2 IRC Winner Tribal (GBSC)

Runner Up Dis-A-Ray (TIMC)

Class 3 IRC Winner Boojum (TBSC)

Runner Up Django (RWYCI – LRYC)

Class 1 ECHO Winner TK Lean Machine (GBSC)

Runner Up X-Rated (MSC)

Class 2 ECHO Winner Dis-A-Ray (TIMC)

Runner Up Elixir (MSC)

Class 3 ECHO Winner Subadar (MSC)

Runner Up Privateer (MSC)

White Sails Winner As Lathair (MSC)

Runner Up Xstatic (MSC)

BJ Marine cup Genie

X-Yachts cup X-rated,

Tommy OKeeffe trophy Dis-A-Ray,

Next year's WIORA moves to Galway and in 2016 the event is heading back to Kilrush on the Shannon Estuary.

Full WIORA results are on the Mayo Sailing Club site HERE

Published in WIORA

#WIORA - The West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association’s (WIORA) West Coast Championships will be held on Clew Bay from Wednesday 23 to Saturday 26 July 2014.

As reported last October on Afloat.ie, Mayo Sailing Club in Rosmoney will play host to the fleet of up to 30 boats from around the country that will vie for the coveted titled of 'Champion of the West'.

The main attraction will be preceded by a week of events starting with the O’Sullivan's Marine 100 Mile Race the weekend before the West Coast Championships, on a course set from the Aran Islands in Galway Bay to Mayo Sailing Club.

Meanwhile, charter boats are available all around Clew Bay to get the best views of the action while doing some fishing, having a picnic on board or just enjoying being out on the water and taking in the sights.

You can also meet the skippers and crew at the daily after-race party at Mayo Sailing Club, where there will be food, teas and coffees, entertainment and an open bar.

Live music will be provided by the Hip Pocket Trio and their jazz soul stylings on Wednesday 23, singer-songwriter Dennis McCalmont on Thursday 24 and pop-rocking three-piece Old Tricks on Friday 25 July.

Published in WIORA
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WIORA's 'West Coast Championships' will take place from Wednesday, 23rd July to Saturday, 26th 2014, and will be hosted by Mayo Sailing Club at Rosmoney, on Clew Bay. A fleet of up to 30 boats will take advantage of the new pontoon facilities near the club house.

Rosmoney near Westport is the base for the Sailing Club whose members enjoy the excellent sailing grounds that exists among the archipelago of islands in the east of Clew Bay.

The important new pontoon facility is located approximately 30 metres from the edge of the permanent pier and has been in constant use by Mayo Sailing Club, islanders, boatmen since it opened in April 2013.

Published in WIORA

#WIORA – The West of Ireland Offshore Championship's, which were hosted by Foynes Yacht Club last week on the Shannon Estuary was a great success for the for the club writes Gerry Ryan.

The last time the championships were hosted by the club 14 years ago, which is a long time to wait for such a prestigious championship. A total of 28 yacht's raced in four different divisions: Class 1, 2 and 3 and in the ever popular and growing White Sails Division.

The championships are one of the top events on the west coast sailing calendar and vessels from as far away as Sligo to Fenit travelled to compete in the golden jubilee of FYC.

The weather during the week was mixed with the wind strengthening to force 4 on some of the days with a very wet day on the Thursday.

A total of one race was scheduled for Wednesday, where two were raced on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Officer of the Day, Liam Dineen set challenging courses for the event, and mostly all the courses were set in Olympic Triangular fashion, where racing took place west of Foynes Island concentrating between the Clare shore at Labasheeba and Mount Trenchard on the Limerick side.

Vantage points were taken up on the coast road leading to Tarbert and Ballybunion, where the public could view the superb racing that was on offer.

In his opening speech at the presentation of prizes FYC Commodore Tom Murray said that he was delighted so many boats from the club's on the west coast and especially from Iniscealtra from Lough Derg took part in the event. He thanked the committee, member's of the club and an Slua Muiri in giving assistance to the event.

Foynes Yacht Club took several of the top prizes with Andrew Bracken sailing in Class 1 IRC on Joyrider received the Clifford Cup overall trophy and the winning class trophy the Ita McGibney Cup. His crew consisted of David Taylor, who won the IRC National Championship's in Scotland, he also had Stephen Ferris, Steve Atkinson, Killian Glynn, Evan Tobin, who is a National Topper Champion, Annemarie Glynn, Dominic O'Sullivan and Eddie Bracken.

In Class 1 Echo, another Foynes boat, Dexterity received the laurels in taking the overall prize. Team Foynes were delighted with this win, and after the presentation a member of the winning crew described the win as 'fantastic'. The crew were Alan McEneff, Liam Madden, Ger Hobbs, Kevin Hoare, Rory Buckley and Jane Maher.

Ray McGibney, skipper of Dis-A-Ray took the honours in Class 2 IRC, which was a great achievement for them, especially because they were up against a strong fleet of participating boats.

A name synonymous with Foynes Yacht Club 'McCormack' did not let the side down, James McCormack, skipper of Alpara won the White Sails Division with his crew of Darragh, Cian, Jamie, Mary, Patricia McCormack, Anna Lowes, Chris McDaid and Mary Glynn.

Brian O'Sullivan on Reconnaissance from Tralee Bay Sailing Club won IRC and ECHO in Class 3, and Serendipitiy of Solent skippered by Robert Bourke from Inishcealtra Sailing Club won White Sails Division 1.

Overall results: Class 1 IRC, Joyrider. Class 1 Echo, Dexterity. Class 2 IRC and Echo, Dis-A-Ray. Class 3 IRC and Echo, Reconnaisance. White Sails Division 1: Serendipity of Solent. White Sails Division 2: Alpara. Overall winners in IRC: Joyrider, Andy Bracken. Overall winners in White Sails Division: Alpara, James McCormack.

Published in WIORA
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#WIORA – In an ebb tide the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Championship's hosted by Foynes Yacht Club got off to a terrific start yesterday on the Shannon Estuary. Race Officer, Liam Dineen set a challenging course for some of the classes. Competitors who travelled from Sligo to Mountshanon, enjoyed fine sailing in a steady north-westerly winds of 30 knots that kept the four fleets entertained for the passage race, which was raced east of Foynes Island to the Loughill navigation buoy.

Results:

Class 1 IRC: 1st Joyrider, 2nd Mustang Sally, 3rd Dexterity.

Echo: 1st Mustang Sally, 2nd Joyrider. 3rd Dexterity.

Class 2 IRC: 1st Dis-A-Ray. 2nd 2602. 3rd Golden Kopper.

Echo: Dis-A-Ray. 2nd 2602. 3rd Golden Kopper.

Class 3 IRC: 1st Reconnaissance. 2nd Jaws. 3rd Battle.

Echo: 1st Reconnaissance. 2nd Jaws. 3rd Battle.

Whiite Sails Division One: 1st Serendipity of Solent. 2nd Wyte Dolphin. 3rd Kerry Dream.

White Sails Division Two: 1st Alpara. 2nd Jabiru. 3rd Sea Saw.

Published in WIORA

#wiora – Over 30 yachts are coming from clubs in Sligo, Mayo, Westport; Galway, Clifden; Kerry, Fenit; Kilrush, Lough Derg, Inniscealtra and Dromineer, Mountshannon, and from the east coast, Howth Yacht Club to race on the scenic Shannon Estuary in next weeks WIORA championship.

Foynes Yacht Club, based on the shores of the Shannon Estuary in Cooleen Point will be hosting the five day event, an important honour for the club in a year that it celebrates the golden jubilee anniversary of it's founding in July 1962.

The championships will take place from Wednesday, July 11 to Saturday, July 14 inclusive.

Racing will be run in three different classes: Class 1, 2 and 3 in the IRC and Echo handicap system, and the ever popular White Sails division will compete under the Echo handicap system only.

The last time that the club hosted the championship's was in 1998.

Practice races may take place on the Monday and Tuesday prior to the championship's to get the different class yacht's fine tuned.

Quality catering is assured, and top class entertainment will be provided in the Clubhouse during the week.

This, of course being a special year for Foynes Yacht Club, which culminates in quite a lot of preparation and organisation in hosting this prestigious championship on the west coast of Ireland.

Principal race officer, Liam Dineen is looking forward coming to Foynes once again to take the helm. Incidentally, Liam was race officer for the highly successful national Mermaid championship's, which the club hosted in the summer of 2010.

All yacht's that enter the championship's will be given a free berth or mooring for the duration of the event, and yacht lifting and mast stepping facilities will also be provided.

Published in Shannon Estuary
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#foynes – On Sunday next Foynes Yacht Club willl be hosting the annual Carrigaholt race, where all classes will participate in racing writes Gerry Ryan. Classes 1, 2, White Sails and the Mermaid fleet will be competeing for the Carrigaholt trophy. It is anticipated that racing will start at 10am from the club line.

It is nearly time now for the West of Ireland Championship's that the club is hosting in early July. Preparation is going according to plan and an entry of 40 yachts have signed up for the event. Of course, as member's are aware this is one of the biggest sailing events in the West coast calendar this year.

Last Saturday the second leg of the Estuary Bell, where the Officer of the Day, Conor Roche chose east of Foynes Island for racing. The conditions for racing was a west-northwest wind force 5.

Leading from the first leg, which took place place on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10 in Kilrush Dis-A-Ray in Class 1 in IRC.

Class 1 were sent off on longer beats and had to deal with very testing conditions with flying spinnakers. In race 1 Dexterity ran into difficulty on the last leg and had an alarming Chinese gybe in front of the committee boat just short of the the finish line, which cost them line honours. Unfortunately, they had to retire because of this.

Dis-A-Ray and Hero battled it out for both races and only seconds separated them at the finish. In race 1 Dis-A-Ray took the laurels more than half a minute ahead of Hero, while in race two Hero finished ahead of Dis-A-Ray on corrected time.

However, on corrected time, Hero, with the much higher handicap were placed behind Dis-A-Ray each time. John Conway on Golden Kopper put in a great performance to take a place in race 2 on corrected time.

In the White Sails division courses set had more reaching than beating, which were fine judging from the weather conditions.

Skippers made the decision to reef the mains and sail with a smaller headsail. The wind abated from 30 knots to 25 for race 2.

In race 1 Pat Finucane on Marengo and Brian O'Donnell on Whyte Dolphin were neck and neck for most of the race, O'Donnell on Whyte Dolphin pulled away on the final leg to decorate the mahogany.

Results: Race 1 IRC, 1st Ray, (Ray McGibney); 2nd Hero (Adrian O'Connell); 3rd Golden Kopper (John Conway), and 4th Dexterity (Foynes Team).

Race 2 IRC: 1st Dis-A-Ray. 2nd Golden Kopper. 3rd Hero.

White Sails: 1st Whyte Dolphin (Brian O'Donnell); 2nd Marengo (Patrick Finucane), 3rd Battle (Elaine O'Mahoney.

Race 2: Battle was first across the line but were beaten on corrected time. 1st Whyte Dolphin. 2nd Battle. 3rd Marengo.

Thanks to Ger Reidy on the use of his vessel for the committee boat.

Published in Shannon Estuary
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Page 3 of 5

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. 

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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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