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Thanks to its new sponsor, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) has opened entry for September's 2023 Irish National Championships with a unique app (link for download below).

As regular Afloat readers will know, the championships were boosted last week by the announcement of as the title sponsor for the three-day event at Howth Yacht Club from 8th-10th September. 

Organisers expect upwards of 100 boats and more than 1,000 competitors to compete in five classes between Ireland's Eye and Lambay Island off the Fingal coast of North County Dublin.

To mark their sponsorship, has created a unique application to assist boat owners and crews in managing their demanding schedules using the scheduling and integration features offered by the cloud-based system.

The ICRA National Championships at Howth will also incorporate the J24 National ChampionshipsThe ICRA National Championships at Howth will also incorporate the J24 National Championships

Crew availability, boat maintenance and event planning are all contained within the standard template that will be free for users to download.

In addition to the cruiser-racer classes, the three-day series will also incorporate the J24 National Championships, with upwards of 30 crews expected from all corners of Ireland.

"As we put the spectre of the Covid pandemic well behind us, we're making sure that we have plenty of time to stage a super event both afloat and ashore that Howth is well-known for," commented Jill Sommerville, chairperson of the HYC organising committee. "

Welcoming the development of the application, ICRA Commodore David Cullen said: "Managing a team can be complex and time-consuming, so anything that helps streamline the process is a great addition for a boat of any size."

Online entry for the event is available now - click here

Crew Management application - click here

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Most sailors would have seen themselves as Friday Fun-Folk and Monday Moaners until yesterday (Thursday) evening, when Howth Yacht Club Commodore Neil Murphy announced that the club's big one for 2023, the staging of the ICRA Nationals from September 8th to 10th, would be sponsored by the major international tech-force with its main Irish face, Providence.

It would almost be easier to list the very few services that this state-of-the-art international business development group doesn't provide. But for sailors it's sufficient to say that if you have problems in keeping tabs on your essential racing crew panel, then will have a system which makes it all much more straightforward and efficient. And as any experienced and successful owner will attest, if you've a system that monitors a race-winning crew panel in an easy and accessible way, then its transference in different forms to business development at any size and level can be taken as a given, as can give a lot.

But then, so too can ICRA, as their lead representative Richard Colwell of the successful J/109 Outrajeous reminded us. The hard-fought ICRA Nats may be when they go most public, but their season-long monitoring of many events to adjudicate the ICRA Boat of the Year (the current one is the Evans brothers of Howth's J/99 Snapshot) is one of the key analytics of Irish sailing, while their U25 programme has become an international pace-setter.

The championship organisation is being chaired by Jill Sommervile, and though September may now seem a long way distant, she made it very clear that early entrants will get a generous discount, providing a saving which can be usefully re-used when party time comes in September, and Monday is everyone's favourite day of the week.

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Following last week's ICRA announcement that the 2024 Cruiser Nationals will return to the Royal Irish Yacht Club in September, ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen has confirmed the Dun Laoghaire dates as 6th-8th September. 

As Afloat previously reported, the RIYC hosts the ICRA's for the third time in 2024.

Cullen told Afloat, "the Royal Irish will put together a very attractive and professionally run event". 

The event will mark the event's 20th anniversary, and the sixth time the cruiser-racer championships will have sailed on the Dublin Bay race track.

Royal Irish previously hosted the ICRAs, one of the key fixtures of the Irish sailing season, in 2006 and 2014, with both events featuring a 100-boat-plus fleet.


Cullen added that ICRA was now inviting expressions of interest from clubs wishing to host the ICRA Nationals in 2025 and asks any interested party to register interest to [email protected] before May 1st.

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The Irish Cruiser Racer National Championships return to the Royal Irish Yacht Club for the third time in 2024, the ICRA conference heard on Saturday

The event will mark the event's 20th anniversary, and the sixth time the championships will have sailed on the Dublin Bay race track.

Royal Irish previously hosted the ICRAs, one of the key fixtures of the Irish sailing season, in 2006 and 2014, with both events featuring a 100-boat-plus fleet.

Like this year's edition scheduled for Howth, 2024's event will run in the first week of September.

The Royal Irish Yacht Club is situated in a central location in Dun Laoghaire Harbour with excellent access, and visiting sailors can be sure of a special welcome. 

The clubhouse is located in the prime middle ground of the harbour in front of the town marina, and it is Dun Laoghaire's oldest yacht club. 

Fenit for 2025?

ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen also announced at Saturday's conference that the association is seeking applications for its 21st event in 2025.

Cullen confirmed at least one application had been received; Tralee Bay Sailing Club in County Kerry has sought the event for its Fenit Bay race track, a venue that previously hosted in 2009 and 2013.

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Co-skippers Mike & Richie Evans of ICRA Boat of the Year, the J/99 Snapshot, had a relaxed and celebratory winding-down with crew, friends, family, and fellow Howth YC members when they returned to base from the ICRA AGM & Annual Conference in the Royal St George YC in Dun Laoghaire at the weekend. They'd been under the additional pressure of making the key presentation at the Dun Laoghaire gathering, but by the time they and the Trophy had made it safely back to the peninsula, it was a matter of just going with the flow of comradely festivity.

Nevertheless, there was talk of Snapshot's coming season, with the Scottish Series in late May very much in the reckoning, while the Welsh IRC Championship in Pwllheli in mid-May needs to be considered, and they are of course, defending champions at the biennial Sovereign's Cup in Kinsale at the end of June.

But more immediately on the agenda is this Saturday's (March 11th) annual dinghy race round Ireland's Eye, in which several Snapshotters are involved, with Mike Evans himself campaigning his RS800 and hoping for a good head-to-head with three visiting International 14s and other exotics.

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The Irish Cruiser Racer Association's (ICRA) new committee for 2023 was elected at Saturday's national conference agm in Dun Laoghaire.

Commodore Dave Cullen announced to the hybrid meeting – online and in attendance at the Royal St George Yacht Club – that there were two new Dublin additions for the coming season. 

Howth skipper Mike Evans, the current ICRA boat of the year skipper, joins as a committee member with Dun Laoghaire sailor Alice Shanahan of the National Yacht Club.

The balance of the 12-person committee under Cullen, who starts his second year in office, is Secretary Denis Byrne, Treasurer, John Leech Treasurer, Technical Delegate Ric Morris, Brian Raftery, ISORA Rep Peter Ryan, IRC Liaison Mark Mills, Liam Lynch, SCORA Rep Daragh Connelly and Youth Pathways liaison Saoirse Reynolds.

The 2023 ICRA conference and agm held at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun LaoghaireThe 2023 ICRA conference and agm held at the Royal St. George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay

In a packed morning conference schedule, the Commodore welcomed representatives from June's Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race and Sovereign's Cup at Kinsale, July's Dun Laoghaire Regatta, ISORA, SCORA and WIORA, along with Howth's staging of the ICRA Nationals in September. As Afloat reported earlier, each gave updates on their regatta and race plans this summer.

The 2023 meeting marked the 20th edition of the conference. As regular Afloat readers will know, an exploratory ICRA meeting between Denis Kiely, Jim Donegan and Fintan Cairns in the Granville Hotel was held in Waterford in 2022, and the first conference was held in February 2003 in Kilkenny.

Read also: 

ICRA Hears of Robotic Buoys as Dun Laoghaire Regatta Seeks 400-Boats for Ireland's Biggest Sailing Event

20 Entries In For June's Dun Laoghaire Dingle Race, ICRA Conference Told

ISORA's Ryan Emphasises Coastal Racing at ICRA Conference

Irish Cruiser-Racers Get Snapshot Of Success As Highlight Of Today’s ICRA Conference in Dun Laoghaire

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ICRA Boat of the Year winning skipper Mike Evans of Howth Yacht Club headlines this Saturday's National Conference at the Royal St. George Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Evans — co-owner of the successful J99 Snapshot, ICRA Boat of the Year for 2022 — will outline boat and sails selection, crew preparation, and effective planning for a successful season and share some of his winning formulae.

As previously reported, as well as the keynote speakers, there will be updates on the major events planned for the year and the AGM, including the sailors’ forum — where ICRA members can discuss and debate the big issues in the sport — and updates on ICRA activities.

The national cruiser-racer association has published its agenda for Saturday's meeting (see below) 

The conference will start at 10:00 am, followed by the AGM, and close at 13:00 pm.

ICRA members can discuss and debate the big issues in the sport at this Saturday's national conference in Dun LaoghaireCruiser-racing on Duboin Bay - ICRA members can discuss and debate the big issues in the sport at this Saturday's national conference in Dun Laoghaire Photo: Afloat

The full agenda for this year's conference and AGM is as follows:

ICRA Conference Agenda 2023

  • Welcome & Update, by Commodore
  • Events Update 2023, club representatives
  • Irish Sailing CEO, Tim Bourke, Observations from Irish Sailing
  • Break
  • ICRA BOTY winner, Mike Evans, Snapshot review & tips for success
  • Sailors Forum

ICRA AGM Agenda 2023

  • Formal Opening
  • Financial Update
  • Updates from Executive Committee Members
  • Notification of Committee Members Stepping Down
  • Review of Executive Committee Nominations
  • Executive Committee Elections
  • Closeout

If you haven't already, please register to get the zoom link or attend the conference in person.

ICRA Conference Agenda 2023

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The Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s survey of members has identified the biggest barriers to racing as being the costs involved in travelling to events and the lack of crews.

The online survey asked members their views “to improve, support and encourage cruiser racing, including events held last year, handicapping and class bands.”

The five main findings are:

  • 1 - The National Championships rating among attendees falls back slightly, with a third suggesting it was worse than expected, but half still say it was better. (The Championships 2022 were held over five days as part of Cork Week)
  • 2 - The biggest issues revolve around key aspects of the racing and costs of attending the event, with courses chosen, the competitiveness of divisions and the length of races all scoring relatively poorly. The organisation and social parts of the event all scoring ok.
  • 3 - Under 25s and women are well represented on cruiser boats racing in Ireland.
  • 4 - There is a move toward a preference for women and Under 18 crew to allow for extra crew allowance, the preference being an extra +1if a boat has either of these categories
  • 5 - The biggest barriers to racing are getting to events, the costs, and lack of crew. Band splits are also a big issue for some.

ICRA Survey

An invitation to take part in the survey was sent by e-mail to all members, including all who competed in the 2022 National Championships.

The Class one yacht Raptor competing in the 2021 ICRANational Championships on Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatThe Class One yacht Raptor competing in the 2021 ICRA National Championships on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

In total, 125 members responded; 43 of those took part in the National Championships, while 82 did not. On average, 90 members answered each question. 79% of those that responded were boat owners. A broad cross-section of all classes and yacht clubs nationwide were surveyed.

Under 25 crew in a Royal St. George J80 keelboat on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat An Under 25 crew in a Royal St. George J80 keelboat on Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat 

ICRA Survey

ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen says that, from the findings, it is apparent that three-day regatta events are most popular and that it is very clear that costs of travel, and accommodation are major issues, particularly with societal and work pressures on participants. He said the issues raised will be discussed at this year’s annual general meeting of the Association, which will be held on Saturday, March 4 at the Royal St.George Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire. Amongst topics emerging from the survey to be considered will be the age demographic in cruiser racing, and the increasing interest in white sails racing, possibly a reflection of this. The involvement of more younger sailors is a positive aspect of the survey reflecting the success of ICRA’s Under 25 development project.

ICRA Commodore Dave CullenICRA Commodore Dave Cullen

Commodore Cullen is my Podcast guest this week. I asked him first to outline the major issues arising from the survey.

Listen to Podcast here.

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Due to low spring tides, September's Irish Cruiser Racer National Championships (ICRA) at Howth Yacht Club will move forward one week.

The 2023 Championships will now take place in the north Dublin port from 8th to 10th September 2023.

"Due to tidal considerations, we are moving the championships back a week, so they will now take place 8th to 10th September, ICRA Commodore Dave Cullen told Afloat.

Cullen says a Notice of Race for the championship that is expected to produce a 100-boat fleet will issue shortly.

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The results of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association’s (ICRA) national survey of members to get their views about racing are being compiled. They are expected to be completed and released within the next week.

The survey has been carried out “to make sure that we represent members’ views and constantly strive to improve cruiser racing in Ireland,” according to ICRA, a voluntary organisation, “to support and encourage cruiser racing in Ireland, based on liaising and discussion with members to help promote and watch over racing,” it says. “We welcome anyone who has an interest in promoting the sport.”

The survey has been on online and is wide-ranging, reviewing events held last season and seeking opinions about handicapping and class bands among topics surveyed. It will be used to help formulate future cruise racing development.

One of ICRA’s aims is to encourage more young people into sailing and more women. Its Under 25 programme, which has offered financial support to clubs, is proving successful, it says.

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