Source: DAVID BRANIGAN @Irish Times
Tomorrow’s annual conference in Kilkenny for the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) marks the end of a five-year term for Barry Rose as the association’s commodore. Taking over will be Norbert Reilly from Howth as the third such office-holder after Rose and his predecessor Fintan Cairns.
Since its foundation a decade ago, ICRA has brought together all the various national handicapped keelboats from around the country that provide racing for thousands of participants, mostly at club-level
High-points from the last five years for Rose include winning the Commodore’s Cup at Cowes in 2010 by the Irish team led by Anthony O’Leary.
“It was a fabulous achievement for Irish sailing,” Rose told The Irish Times yesterday. “ICRA’s involvement in co-ordinating and supporting that effort was a highlight, especially after 20 years of effort .”
ICRA is also aiming to field a “front row” team for the Commodores’ Cup and hopefully a junior crew as well for 2014.
At home, bringing all the major handicap classes together for a single national championship regatta has been a hugely popular development.
“From Fenit to Dún Laoghaire to Crosshaven and Howth, each national championship has seen the bar raised in terms of organisation and turnout,” he said.
Next summer’s ICRA Championship returns to the Kerry venue so efforts will be made this weekend to ensure a strong travelling contingent heads south and west.
Although operating without a formal base or premises, being awarded the Mitsubishi Motors Club of the Year award last year was another great recognition for ICRA.
According to Rose, encouraging participation is a primary goal for ICRA . “The sport is becoming event-led, there’s doubt about that so ensuring full participation is a challenge.”
Meanwhile, as the Vendee Globe single-handed, non-stop round the world race nears the end of its first week at sea, David Kenefick of the Royal Cork Yacht Club announced his campaign to enter La Solitaire du Figaro, the annual race that sprints from various French, Spanish and Irish ports. The Crosshaven single-hander is only the third Irish sailor to follow the solo sailing route.
Dún Laoghaire’s Paul O’Rian was the last Irish entry five years ago while Kerry man Damian Foxall was a stage winner. The Derrynane native will be home from Canada this weekend to address the conference that begins at 11am at the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny.