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Former successful Irish A35 Fools Gold is continuing her winning ways in new hands on the Solent, lifting an IRC title in Cowes at the weekend under her new name Arcus.

Mid-September it may be, but conditions for the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s 2020 IRC championships felt more like June this weekend, with shorts and T-shirts conditions and allowing a full schedule of racing to be laid on by PRO Stuart Childerley and his team. The event concluded today with two windward-leeward races on the central-eastern Solent in more variable and generally lighter winds than on Friday or Saturday.

Despite being new to their A35 Arcus, John Howell and Paul Newell’s crew managed perfect scorelines on day one and today to win not just IRC Three, but the IRC National Championship overall. Given their lack of familiarity with their boat, to earn themselves this coveted title, said Newell “...was beyond our wildest expectations. We were trying to improve our crew and it turned out to be a very successful first outing - an amazing result! It has been a fantastic regatta. There’s been some great racing. I haven’t heard a bad word said about it - thanks very much RORC.”

Conditions this weekend allowed the Arcus crew to try out all their sails including their #1 jib in today’s lighter winds. “Today was a lot nicer although there was a weird tide line and IRC Two weren’t taking any prisoners when we got in among them,” continued Newell.

Demonstrating how the RORC’s IRC rating rule smiles on professionals and amateurs alike, the Arcus crew is firmly in the latter camp, comprising principally co-owners Howell and Newell and their sons, who come from the Buckinghamshire area.

Winner of IRC One - Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán Photo: Paul WyethWinner of IRC One - Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán Photo: Paul WyethRAN

At the opposite end of the IRC spectrum, a 1-3 today was enough to comfortably secure Niklas Zennström’s FAST40+ Rán victory by five points in IRC One, but a few uncharacteristic blemishes on their scoreline dropped them to second overall.

Having led the fleet around the race track this weekend, Tony Langley’s TP52 Gladiator finally made up her time to secure her first win of the event in today’s final windward-leeward. “I was a bit rusty, but it is just like falling off a bike!” quipped Langley. “What a great weekend - we couldn’t have picked better weather. It was very enjoyable, nice conditions and good race management. It was nice to be back on the water.” This was Langley’s first event of 2020.

IRC Two winner - David Franks J/112E Leon Photo: Paul WyethIRC Two winner - David Franks J/112E Leon Photo: Paul Wyeth

The hardest fought victory across the three classes was that of 2012 winner David Franks aboard his J/112E Leon. They had been handicapped with Franks only coming out of COVID-19 isolation on Friday; maths not working in their favour from the event’s mandatory crew number reduction rules (for social distancing), but mainly from being one of the lowest rated boats in IRC Two and having to find lanes and constantly fight their way up through the fleet. On the plus side the Leon crew had sailed together previously this year. Otherwise, Franks had no complaints: “It has been fabulous, a very good event, well organised. It was lovely to see so many boats out on the Solent.”

Leon posted a 1-2 today with Robert Bottomley’s MAT 12 Sailplane 3 first in the final race. “Normally we do well in the light, despite the fact that we are the smallest boat,” continued Franks. “Today the wind’s velocity was going up and down and was all over the place in direction, so it was hard to know what was going on. It was very challenging, a lot of work.”

Celebrating their overall win in the IRC Two-Handed Championship - Dee Caffari and James Harayda on their Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo Photo: Paul WyethCelebrating their overall win in the IRC Two-Handed Championship - Dee Caffari and James Harayda on their Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo Photo: Paul Wyeth

Running alongside has been the IRC Two-Handed Nationals. With the increased popularity of this discipline due to it being social distancing-friendly and becoming an Olympic event for Paris 2024, the fleet was packed with talent. Going into the final day Dee Caffari and James Harayda on the Sun Fast 3300 Gentoo was tied with Jeremy Waitt and double Olympic gold medallist Shirley Robertson on Richard Palmer’s JPK 10.10 Jangada. However a 1-3 was enough to secure Gentoo the title as Jangada’s 4-4.5 caused her to drop off the podium, albeit just one point short of second.

Caffari and Harayda coming second in the Drheam Cup was enough to gain them the GBR berth in the recent EUROSAF Mixed Offshore European Championship, where their result was disappointing. As Caffari explained: “We were selected, but had to pay to go: We went to Italy, sailed in an unknown venue on an unknown boat with no support. We had a good inshore race and then made some critical errors offshore and didn’t have the performance we wanted. We were determined to come here and prove a point about why we were selected. We are delighted with our result.”

Gentoo was launched in today’s first race, consolidating their lead on the second leg of their round the cans race by committing to their powerful Code 0 early, but then suffering after being rolled by Gladiator.

Caffari was pleased by the quality of the fleet: “A lot of sailors were here who know what they are doing and know these waters and the tides. It is about eliminating errors and getting around the course cleanly.”
Race Committee

It was a great weekend of racing on the Solent for the IRC Nationals and IRC Two-Handed ChampionshipIt was a great weekend of racing on the Solent for the IRC Nationals and IRC Two-Handed Championship run by the RORC Race Team Photo: Paul Wyeth

Behind them it was close with second to fifth places separated by just 1.5 points. Ultimately it was Gareth Edmondson and former Artemis Offshore Academy graduate Hugh Brayshaw, who came home second on countback after winning today’s second race by just 16 seconds. Sailing a chartered Sun Fast 3600, this result was a complete surprise for Edmondson who praised his co-skipper, with whom he last sailed doublehanded offshore two years ago. “Hugh is the genius and I just do as I’m told - an autohelm that speaks!” However Brayshaw added their success was down to trust and relying on each other. Both were delighted to be out on the water for the first time this season: “It was fantastic with people simply being able to sail and race and compete. And the standard seemed very high. It was very tight.”

Due to social distancing restrictions, no prizegiving was held.

Published in RORC
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After a great deal of work in conjunction with RYA Cymru Wales, and the Royal Dee Yacht Club, the IRC Welsh Championships will go ahead in a “stripped down” fashion but still provide challenging racing.

As Afloat previously reported here, the championships are slated for August 14-16.

To comply with UK government COVID-19 regulations some changes to the format are reflected in the Notice of Race (NOR) which can be downloaded below.

The main change, according to Mark Thompson, Rear Commodore of Clwb Hwylio Pwllheli Sailing Club is that all classes will use bridge starts, to avoid the need for committee boats and reduce the numbers of race management volunteers.

The 'bridge start' uses a race starter ashore in a dedicated start hut with a start line between the hut and an outfall buoy (dŵr Cymru)

The hut is known as “PSC Bridge” and reduces the need for committee boat and incorporates auto countdowns and timekeeping.

The championships will use one RIB for laying a mark to assist with course setting.

Thompson says the championships 'will be a more laid-back regatta, for competitors to get out on the water with friends and family and enjoy some fun racing, in a less formal way'.

Short handing sailing which is part of the revised regatta format is more demanding, so courses will be set with longer legs to allow for crew manoeuvrings!

The entry process is open, and the organisers have significantly reduced entry fees.

IRC 1 and 2

Racing from a Bridge Start (PSC Line) around the fixed marks, plus one Inflatable mark at the discretion of the race officer. The fixed courses may be used, and there may be a coastal race one day.

IRC 4

Cruisers scored using NHC racing one or two races per day around the fixed and geographical landmarks. Races may be two laps of the same course, scored as two races.

IRC Coastal Class

These races will be managed by ISORA and will race around the bay, 20-25 miles using both geographical landmarks, fixed and virtual marks. Timekeeping will be by YB tracker

Crew Numbers

As this is an “organised activity” we are able to take advantage of a Welsh Government regulation that allows us to have more than two households on a boat, but social distancing of 2 meters must be maintained between households. In order to facilitate this, and recognise its harder on some boats, the following crew numbers will be set to ensure fairness. This will be reviewed if new Regulations allow.

IRC boats – the IRC certificate crew number, divided by two (rounded down if applicable) plus 1.

Example: IRC crew number 7 would allow 4 crew on the boat

NHC Boats – 3 crew members for boats up to 9m and 4 above 9m

Thomason says the championships need to demonstrate that it is complying with regulations, and the above should facilitate this. This is similar to the formula used in Regattas currently held in England.

On the Pontoons

Again, this year berthing on the Plas Heli Pontoons is free for competitors during the event. Spaces are limited so it will be on a first-come basis. Please adhere to the pontoon protocol for the use of the pontoons.

On the Deck and Bar

Plas Heli will be open as normal, and we propose to not organise any formal social activity, but hope we can all enjoy the facilities for après sail

Jugs of beer will be provided for daily prizes, and just the perpetual trophies awarded to minimise costs allowing us to reduce our entry fees

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Despite a strong entry list from the United States and abroad including Ireland, and the exhaustive efforts of the New York Yacht Club along with the governing bodies for the ORC and IRC rating rules, the decision has been made to cancel the 2020 ORC/IRC World Championships, originally scheduled for Sept. 25 to Oct. 3 at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I.

As Afloat previously reported, at least two Irish Sea campaigns were scheduled for the championships. Former ISORA champion J109 Mojito (Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox) was making the trip to the Big Apple and a second ISORA contender, Andrew Hall's Jackhammer, a J121, was also slated.

"The impact of the coronavirus has been felt throughout the sporting world," said Christopher J. Culver, Vice Commodore of the New York Yacht Club. "Given the challenges involved with shipping boats and teams to the United States from Europe and elsewhere and the lead time required for foreign teams to make a competitive run at this prestigious world title, we don't feel that a representative world championship is possible."

The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship was to bring top sailing teams from around the globe to battle on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay for one of three coveted world titles. The regatta would've been scored using a combination of the two most popular rating rules in the sport, ORC and IRC, and racing would've been a mix of around-the-buoys racing and longer, offshore courses.

The 2020 World Championships would've been the first time this regatta was held in the United States in two decades, and early interest exceeded expectations, with 50 boats from eight countries registering for the regatta before the COVID-19 pandemic put the sailing season in doubt.

"We are thankful to the organizers at the New York Yacht Club for all their efforts to attract a strong fleet to what would have been a memorable event,” said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of ORC. "This enthusiasm for high-level handicap racing we hope will continue in the US, and we look forward to being supportive in any way we can in the post-pandemic times ahead.”

"We are saddened to announce the cancellation of the ORC/IRC World Championships, long planned to be held in late September 2020 at the Newport base of the New York Yacht Club," said Michael Boyd, IRC Congress Chairman. "A large number of owners and crews will be very disappointed by our news, but will understand the many challenges posed by COVID-19 to the resumption of our sport, especially at the international level. We have also been conscious of the necessity to make a decision well in advance of the event.

"For some time, we have worked with a dedicated New York Yacht Club team and our ORC counterparts to ensure a memorable regatta, and we thank them for their professionalism and friendship. We were particularly enthusiastic about holding our joint Worlds in North America and in such a special location. We all look forward to the return of IRC yachts to race courses in North America and to getting together in Newport in more favourable times."

While the ORC/IRC World Championships was to be the penultimate event on the New York Yacht Club's 2020 sailing calendar, the Club remains hopeful it will be able to hold a handful of events during the second half of the summer and into the early fall. For the most up-to-date schedule and current regatta information, please visit the Club's website.

Published in ISORA
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The Welsh IRC Welsh Championships 2020, is scheduled to take place from Friday, August 14th to Sunday, August 16th. Despite the current restrictions, work is continuing from home on all of the organisational aspects of the championships, and we remain committed to running the event if at all possible.

Stephen Tudor - Championship Secretary said - “We continue to move forward with plans for the event and remain hopeful that by the time we get to mid-August - still four months' away - the necessity to socially distance ourselves will have reduced sufficiently so that we can run some great boat racing in Pwllheli, following an ISORA race over from Dún Laoghaire“ 

Planned Classes

In addition to our traditional two IRC classes and NHC cruiser class, we have added a new class for 2020, an offshore/coastal class racing coastal courses under IRC. This class will aim to race 20-35 mile courses, and the Saturday race will incorporate both the King Constantine Cup (a club race) and the Postponed ISORA coastal race, part of the Welsh Coastal series.

Should Government restrictions and guidance change, we can adapt some of our classes and racetrack styles, switching on or off various components with the minimum of lead time, and allowing us significant leeway - perhaps until the mid-July - before we need to make any big decisions.

The safety of participants and volunteers working behind the scenes is foremost in our minds of course, but providing that we can run an event that complies with all guidance in place at the time, then we fully intend to do so. I suspect there will be a lot of sailors desperate to get boats on the water by August!

Published in ICRA
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The RORC Rating Office team is working remotely and continuing to provide the excellent service expected from owners, clubs and the industry around the world. As all sailors are looking forward to when they’ll be able to get out on the water again after the imposed break, this is an ideal time to talk to your sailmaker, rigger or designer about any adjustments you could make to your boat and run an IRC trial to see the potential effect of the changes.

Until 31st May the RORC Rating Office is cutting the cost of IRC trial certificates by 25% for British owned boats holding a 2020 IRC certificate, and most IRC Rule Authorities whose certificates are issued by RORC will also be offering this discount.

In line with normal IRC policy we will continue to have a limitation on how many trials may be requested in the certificate year; please check the published policy on the IRC website at https://ircrating.org/irc-rule/. Trial certificates allow current certificate holders to investigate the potential effects of data changes without affecting their valid rating; if you do not yet hold a 2020 IRC certificate you will need to revalidate it first and this also provides you with the new rating as it may have changed with the 2020 software updates.

British-based owners should apply for their Spinlock IRC ratings online through the RORC Rating Office’s MyIRC online portal at https://myirc.rorcrating.com, while owners of boats based in other countries should contact their local IRC Rule Authority – in Ireland's case that's the Irish Sailing office.

Published in Scottish Waters
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Online entry has opened for the 2020 IRC European Championship which will take place in Cork Harbour, Ireland during Volvo Cork Week as part of the unique celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

The 2020 IRC European Championship will be held over five days of racing from Monday 13th July to Friday 17th July during the biennial Volvo Cork Week regatta. The championship is expected to attract a record fleet of highly competitive IRC rated boats vying for the overall win and class honours.

Last month, the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the oldest yacht club in the world, launched its online entry system for the prestigious Volvo Cork Week 2020 regatta which will see hundreds of boats and thousands of yachtsmen and women from around the globe compete on the waters around Cork Harbour from July 13th – 17th.

On the 8th July, prior to Volvo Cork Week and the IRC European Championship, the Morgan Cup Race will start from Cowes, bound for Cork. Organised by the Royal Ocean Race Club since 1958, this will be the first time that the course has been set across the Celtic Sea to Cork. The 324nm race is expected to attract a substantial fleet. A new trophy for Line Honours has been donated by His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

Early entries for Volvo Cork Week show the amazing diversity of boats that will be celebrating the Royal Cork Yacht Club’s unique and historic celebration for the tricentennial. One of the most advanced racing yachts ever built will be in action as Irving Laidlaw returns to Volvo Cork Week with his Botin 56 Highland Fling 16. Niall & Olivia Dowling's Ker40+ Arabella is the first entry from the FAST40+ Class with half a dozen carbon flyers expected to be racing. David Collins IRC52 Tala will also be challenging in a red hot big boat fleet.

"Niall & Olivia Dowling's Ker40+ Arabella is the first entry from the FAST40+ Class"

A substantial fleet of classic yachts will be racing at Volvo Cork Week, the first entry has a history with the Royal Cork dating back over 100 years. David Aisher's 60ft George Wanhill designed classic Thalia raced for the Royal Cork Yacht Club in 1890. The 1720 Sportsboat Class is expected to have the largest fleet for many a year. The first entry was received from Conor Clarke who will be sailing under the burgee of the Royal Irish YC.

The Royal Cork Yacht Club has also received the first entries for the Beaufort Cup, open to sailing teams from all over the world representing their associated national services. The first Irish entry for the Beaufort Cup is Denis & Annamarie Murphy Grand Soleil 40 Nieulargo (RNLI Crosshaven). The first American entry is Ken Johnson's C&C 121 Grateful Red (US Army/ US Marines). The first British entry is the Royal Navy Sailing Association's J/109 Jolly Jack Tar, skippered by Philip Warwick.

Head of Sevenstar Racing Yacht Logistics, Wouter Verbaak has confirmed that Sevenstar Yacht Transport has partnered with Cork 300 and included special arrangements for yachts requiring shipping to Volvo Cork Week. “Cork has been made a special part of our USA, Med and Caribbean shipping logistics. Planned loading days from Southampton, UK to Cork, Ireland are between 16-30 June, 2020 with return loading days 20-27 July, 2020 in time for Cowes Week. We have FAST40+ yachts and classic yachts already in our plan, with space for more yachts wishing to compete at Volvo Cork Week,” confirmed Verbaak.

Published in Cork Harbour
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The 2020 IRC European Championship will be held at Cork Week as part of the unique celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club.

As Afloat previously back as 2016, the 5th edition of the IRC European Championship will take place in Cork Harbour over five days of racing from Monday 13th July to Friday 17th July 2020. The championship is expected to attract a record fleet of highly competitive IRC rated boats vying for the overall win and class honours.

On Wednesday 8th July, prior to the IRC European Championship, the Morgan Cup Race will start from Cowes, bound for Cork. Organised by the Royal Ocean Race Club (RORC) since 1958, this will be the first time that the course has been set across the Celtic Sea to Cork. The 324nm race is expected to attract a substantial fleet and will be a weighted race within the world's largest offshore racing programme, the RORC Season's Points Championship.

"With a large majority of Irish boats already holding IRC Endorsed certificates there is the prospect of many strong Irish entries"

"The Irish IRC fleet are highly competitive and with a large majority of Irish boats already holding IRC Endorsed certificates there is the prospect of many strong Irish entries," commented Director of Rating for IRC, Dr Jason Smithwick. "With this diverse range of boat types racing under the IRC rating system we have been working closely with the Royal Cork Yacht Club to create an exciting and varied race programme with a mixed range of courses. This balance of course types will allow all boats to have a chance and create a fair and interesting event for the competitors. The IRC rating offices have also been working with the organisers to have a thorough programme of equipment inspection to ensure good equipment control before and during the event," continues Smithwick.

Corinthian teams racing small and medium size boats have enjoyed tremendous success in the IRC European Championship. In 2016 the inaugural championship was hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht and was won overall by Royal Cork's Paul Gibbons racing Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge. For the last three championships French teams have won overall. The 2020 IRC European Championship will feature high performance boats, including a number of FAST40+ teams expected to be racing under IRC. Prizes are also awarded to the best Corinthian team, as well as individual IRC Classes.

Overall winners of the IRC European Championship

  • 2016 Paul Gibbons' Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge (Cork, Ireland)
  • 2017 Guy Claeys' JPK 10.10 Expresso 2 (Marseille, France)
  • 2018 Didier le Moal's J/112E J-Lance (Cowes, UK).
  • 2019 Yves Ginoux's Farr 36 Absolutely II (San Remo, Italy)

For the 2020 IRC European Championship, competitors will enjoy wide-ranging and competitive racing afloat, as well as the Royal Cork's unique and historic celebration of their tricentennial.

"We're delighted to welcome the IRC European Championships back in 2020 where the fleet will enjoy a varied programme of races set in and around Cork Harbour," commented Cork Week Director of Racing, Rosscoe Deasy. "Shorter racecourses will be specially laid outside of Roches Point, a wonderful sailing area with open sea conditions and stable winds, while the famous 'Harbour Race' will bring additional navigational and tactical challenges. A 10-14 hour 'Coastal Race' is planned along the treacherously beautiful Irish headlands, providing a demanding test of crew focus and endurance. Admittedly the real test will be found ashore in Crosshaven where only the stoutest of hearts will be able to resist the siren call of the legendary Cork Week craic. It's going to be a great event!"

Published in Cork Harbour
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The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship will be held September 25 to October 3, 2020, at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court in Newport, R.I but it is not known if any Irish boats are planning to compete.

As Afloat previously reported, the event will feature up to 100 teams from throughout the United States and beyond competing in three classes for three World Champion titles. Racing will be on both inshore courses and offshore races and will use the world's two most popular measurement-based rating systems recognized by World Sailing: IRC and ORC.

A single Irish boat competed at the 2018 Offshore Championships in the Hague in Holland where Waterford Harbour's Fools Gold flew the flag for Irish IRC interests. It remains to be seen if any Irish campaigns will venture across the pond next October but the fact that the double Commodore's Cup-winning captain Anthony O'Leary found the Newport race track so fruitful recently might just encourage further Irish interest in 12 months time. O'Leary's Royal Cork Yacht Club crew took bronze at New York Invitational Cup a month ago in a new Irish designed IRC boat that was tipped recently for success by Irish Olympic helm Mark Mansfield.

Against that, IRC Chief Michael Boyd confirmed this week that the 2020 IRC European Championships will sail this year at Cork Week in July so it is not clear if any Irish skipper will have an appetite for both.

The conventional wisdom says the sailing season in the Northeastern United States ends with the Labor Day holiday, celebrated the first Monday in September. But the locals will tell you that September and October are the best months of the year in Rhode Island and ideal for top-level sailing. Regattas held in Newport around the fall solstice usually bring a testing variety of wind and weather conditions coupled with temperate evenings perfect for post-race socializing. The absence of summer crowds makes this historic resort town that much more accessible and welcoming.

The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship will bring top sailing teams from around the globe to battle on Rhode Island Sound and Narragansett Bay for one of three coveted world titles. It's the first time in two decades this regatta, which will be held at the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court from September 25 to October 3, 2020, has been held in North America. Entries will open on Friday, October 25.

"We're extremely excited for next year's ORC/IRC World Championship," said Patricia Young, the event chair and a passionate sailor who is often found racing on her Tripp 41 Entropy. "We recognize that it's a big commitment to ship a boat from Europe, or further abroad, for this regatta. But Newport and the New York Yacht Club will reward anyone who puts in the effort with one of the best regatta experiences of their lives."

Because each of the three divisions is limited to 50 boats, there is a strong incentive to sign up early. The first 30 boats that register for each class will be guaranteed a spot in the regatta. Beyond that initial group, a selection process may be required if there are more than 50 total entries for any class. The division of classes is determined by CDL (Class Division Length) limits defined in the Notice of Race.

Class A will have the fastest boats in the fleet, from about 45 to 55 feet in length, with TP52s being among the fastest boats allowed to enter. Already there are preparation plans amongst boats in this fleet to optimize for the 2020 Worlds, and at least one new boat is being built now to compete in this class.

Close racing in Class B at the 2018 Hague Offshore Worlds © Sander van der Borch

Class B is typically composed of mid-sized boats from 39 to 44 feet in length. A ClubSwan 42, a class created by the New York Yacht Club in 2006, won Class B at the D-Marin ORC World Championship in Croatia in June.

Class C has been the most popular and competitive class at world championship events held in Europe the past few years. Boat types that compete in this class are typically production racer/cruisers, such as the J/112E from, the Netherlands that won Class B at the 2018 ORC/IRC World Championship in The Hague and Class 3 at the IRC Europeans in Cowes, UK. Small fast sportboats, such as GP26s, C&C 30s and other nimble designs, may also enter this class.

Besides 2020 World Champion titles, the event will also award for each class trophies for the top Corinthian team and the top team competing in a boat designed before 2010.

The 2020 ORC/IRC World Championship will include a mix of buoy racing and offshore courses, and use two of the world's most popular systems for rating boats, IRC and ORC. The exact scoring methodology will be confirmed shortly, but both rating systems will play a significant role.

"We're very excited to return to the U.S. with a World Championship after such a long absence," said Bruno Finzi, Chairman of the Offshore Racing Congress (ORC). "Newport and the New York Yacht Club are the perfect venues, and the interest we have had from teams here in Europe who wish to attend has been strong. We look forward to seeing the best of the U.S. and the best of the rest of the world come to race in Newport."

"Newport and the New York Yacht Club will provide a tremendous backdrop for the second combined World Championship of IRC and ORC," said Michael Boyd, IRC Congress Chairman. "Moving the championships around the world, from Europe in 2018 to now the United States in 2020, shows the truly international reach of our rating systems. We can't wait to see the broad range of sailing talent from around the world compete for this prestigious event at this esteemed venue."

Purchased by the New York Yacht Club in 1988, Harbour Court has become one of the preeminent regatta hosts in the United States. Recent events hosted by the Club include the historic J Class World Championship in 2017 along with world championship regattas for the Etchells, J/70s and Farr 40s. A 2020 summer schedule that includes the 166th Annual Regatta and the 2020 Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex will provide plenty of opportunity for visiting teams to become familiar with the local conditions and enjoy a full summer of sailing in Newport.

The stunning grounds of this 115-year-old clubhouse are perfect for entertaining regatta guests and VIPs after racing and provide one of the most spectacular views of Newport Harbor. The Club's location in Brenton Cove is in close proximity to a full suite of maritime services and diverse lodging options and provides sailors with quick access to the racecourse.

Entries open on Friday. 

Published in ICRA
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Representatives of the International Rating Certificate (IRC) from around the world met in France for two days of debate and discussion at the beginning of October.

The 2019 Congress was hosted by l’Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL) and the Société des Régates d'Antibes, and delegates arriving into Nice airport enjoyed an aerial view of the racing at Les Voiles de St Tropez.

Congress 2019 was chaired for the first time by Irishman and former Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) Commodore Michael Boyd, supported by Vice Chairs Malcolm Runnalls, and Carl Sabbe (BEL). Delegates gathered from Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Turkey and the USA; and from organisations including RORC, UNCL, the Royal Yachting Association and the International Maxi Association.

The annual conference provides a good forum for IRC owners’ representatives and administrators from many countries to share experiences and ideas from different perspectives and racing cultures; this year was no exception with both formal and informal discussions taking place over the weekend. In additional meetings, the IRC Congress agreed on a number of developments for 2020 as a result of research by the Technical Committee throughout the year, while the IRC Policy Steering Group reinforced the good relations between RORC and UNCL, joint owners of the IRC Rule.

"The 2020 IRC European Championship will be hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club as part of the club's 300th anniversary year"

All at Congress agreed that great events drive participation, and it was interesting to hear of initiatives aimed at increasing IRC fleets, particularly amongst cruiser-racers. For those aspiring to IRC Champion status two events confirmed for 2020 are the IRC European Championship in Ireland in July, hosted by the Royal Cork Yacht Club as part of the club's 300th anniversary year, and the ORC/IRC World Championship hosted in Newport by the New York Yacht Club in September.

IRC rule changes approved for 2020 include rules relating to whisker poles, the input of list angle for water ballasted boats, the definition of bulb weight and several housekeeping items. The Technical Committee have agreed an enhanced formulation for 2020 to improve the treatment of different fin keel types and water ballasted boats and the rating of whisker poles. In addition, research on flying headsails (also referred to as ‘code zero’ headsails) has made excellent process and the intention is to publish a definition early in 2020 and offer trial certificates later in the year.

The Congress Minutes and associated documents including IRC 2020 Rule changes are online here

Published in ICRA
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Irish Olympic helmsman Mark Mansfield picks his big (and smaller) events coming up for the Irish cruiser classes in 2020

The 2019 season is only just coming towards its end and already owners and crew are looking ahead at what is in store next year. There are still some good events to finish this season, and among them, the Autumn Leagues in Howth and Royal Cork, The final ISORA race, with the spoils still not decided, the J109 Nationals, the final summer series DBSC races and of course the very popular DBSC Turkey Shoot series.

2019 was very much a front-loaded year with Scottish Series, ICRA Nationals, Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race, Sovereigns Cup and Dun Laoghaire Regatta all happening within a seven-week period, and 2020 is not looking a whole lot different.

Below you will see the dates of the bigger events for 2020.

Without a doubt the two standout big boat events next year will be the Round Ireland Race in June and in July, Royal Cork Yacht Club host their special Cork Week, on the Munster club's 300th year anniversary. More on this later.

2020 'Big Boat' events

  • Scottish Series, Tarbert - May 22nd to May 25th (Friday to Monday)
  • Wave Regatta, Howth Yacht Club - May 29th to May 31st (Friday to Sunday)
  • Round Ireland Race, Wicklow SC - Starts June 20th (Saturday)
  • RORC Morgan Cup - Cowes to Cork - Starts July 8th (Wednesday)
  • Cork Week, Royal Cork Yacht Club (300 Year Celebration) - July 13th to July 18th (Monday to Saturday)
  • Calves Week - Schul August 4th to August 7th - (Tuesday to Friday)

Other events that are building numbers are Bangor Week, commencing 25th of June and WIORA week (date not published yet). The very popular ISORA offshore series runs throughout the year and these dates are also eagerly awaited.

Here are some details of each of the larger events:

Scottish Series

Always a very happy hunting ground for Irish boats wishing to sharpen themselves up for the new season. Numbers generally have been dropping for the Scottish Series except for the very popular RC35 class where Irish Boats took all podium places this year. Class 2 in 2020 might also show some increases with the biennial Classic Half-Ton Cup in Cowes bringing the competitive Half Tonners out to play early. This year there were two half tonners—expect more in 2020. Great racing and great pub craic around the beer tent and local pubs.

RC35 ScotlandIrish Boats at 2019 Scottish series RC 35 class Photo: Marc Turner

Wave Regatta

Only a new event in 2018 and is based around the Howth Yacht Club traditional June Bank Holiday Lambay Race. Wave Regatta is held every two years and if 2018 is anything to go by, it will be very well attended in 2020. It comes just a few days after the end of Scottish Series. A variety of courses over the three days, including the very popular round Lambay race. Well organised with great onshore facilities.

Signal 8 WaveJamie Mc William's Ker 40, Signal 8 at Howth's Wave Regatta 2018 Photo: Afloat

Round Ireland Race

The big one. 704 miles from Wicklow to Wicklow, clockwise around Ireland and its islands, turning corners all the way around. It goes from strength to strength. There is a rumour of a very large, very well known Maxi looking at taking on the challenge and the record in 2020. If you only plan to do one full-length offshore race, this is the one to do. I have done five Fastnet Races and I would always pick a Round Ireland over a Fastnet.

For those boats who have competed in the last two events, there is the added bonus of the chance to win a Volvo car for the best Boat over the 2016, 2018 and 2020 races. I’m sure we will be advised of the current pecking order very soon on this.

Niall Dowling Niall Dowling's Royal Irish Yacht club, Ker 43, Baraka GP, the overall winner of the Round Ireland 2018 Photo: Afloat

RORC's Morgan Cup

Rarely do Flagship RORC races end in Ireland, but on the 300th year anniversary of the founding of the Royal Cork Yacht Club, the RORC have graciously organised for one of their big races to finish in Cork, as a way of getting UK boats over for the Cork Week 300 regatta.

Approx 90 boats competed in the 2019 Morgan Cup edition this year, won overall by a J109. I suspect you may see some offshore orientated Irish boats decide to include this race in their calendar next year, which also serves as a way to get the boat to Cork in time for the Cork Week 300 Series.

Cork Week 300

From the Height of Cork Week in 2000 when boats competing topped 700, it has fallen somewhat. However, 2020, the 300th Anniversary of the club's founding, is all set to be special and interest from all corners of the world is evident with housing around Crosshaven and Carrigaline already starting to be booked up.

A number of classes are planning to use the week as their European Championships. The 1720 class, who had circa 75 boats at their 2000 event, are planning a big show in 2020 with already 10 boats confirmed from the UK with more likely to follow. A proper event Announcement is expected in September announcing some major classes and profile boats that will be competing.

The 2020 ICRA Nationals is being held as part of Cork week (three days only). Cork Week also incorporates a building fleet for the Beaufort Cup, which is a separate event within the week for associated national services (Army, Naval, Police, Firefighting, Coast Guard etc). This event incorporates an offshore race around the Fastnet and back.

Cork Week 2020 will be one not to miss. White Sail and coastal fleets will be included and the highlight is the all in Harbour race.

FekkesRory Fekkes from Carrigfergus SC, First Class 8—FN-GR8—Overall Winner of Cork week 2018 Photo: Bob Bateman

Calves Week

Numbers have held up very well for Calves Week. In 2019, there were 65 cruisers competing, with very competitive racing over the four days. A mix of windward-leeward courses, around the Islands and the Fastnet race keeps everyone interested. One race a day, with all the crews congregating after racing out in the streets between Newmans and Hackett's pubs. The Apres racing is as important as the racing with many sailors choosing to incorporate family holidays into the week. If you are doing Cork Week, and have not done Calves Week before, maybe you should consider leaving the boat in Cork and sliding down westwards a week or two later.

Rockabill JPK10.80Paul O'Higgins Rockabill VI from the Royal Irish—Winner of Calves week Class One in 2019 

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Howth Yacht Club is the largest members sailing club in Ireland, with over 1,700 members. The club welcomes inquiries about membership - see top of this page for contact details.

Howth Yacht Club (HYC) is 125 years old. It operates from its award-winning building overlooking Howth Harbour that houses office, bar, dining, and changing facilities. Apart from the Clubhouse, HYC has a 250-berth marina, two cranes and a boat storage area. In addition. its moorings in the harbour are serviced by launch.

The Club employs up to 31 staff during the summer and is the largest employer in Howth village and has a turnover of €2.2m.

HYC normally provides an annual programme of club racing on a year-round basis as well as hosting a full calendar of International, National and Regional competitive events. It operates a fleet of two large committee boats, 9 RIBs, 5 J80 Sportboats, a J24 and a variety of sailing dinghies that are available for members and training. The Club is also growing its commercial activities afloat using its QUEST sail and power boat training operation while ashore it hosts a wide range of functions each year, including conferences, weddings, parties and the like.

Howth Yacht Club originated as Howth Sailing Club in 1895. In 1968 Howth Sailing Club combined with Howth Motor Yacht Club, which had operated from the West Pier since 1935, to form Howth Yacht Club. The new clubhouse was opened in 1987 with further extensions carried out and more planned for the future including dredging and expanded marina facilities.

HYC caters for sailors of all ages and run sailing courses throughout the year as part of being an Irish Sailing accredited training facility with its own sailing school.

The club has a fully serviced marina with berthing for 250 yachts and HYC is delighted to be able to welcome visitors to this famous and scenic area of Dublin.

New applications for membership are always welcome and can be accessed through its official website.

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