Source: DAVID BRANIGAN @Irish Times
A new development for next year’s national championships in Fenit was agreed at the recent Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) Conference in Kilkenny. No-race discards will be included in the three-day event in a move aimed at improving rules compliance and reducing gamesmanship.
Initially, the suggestion caused some negative reaction but several speakers cited the format used during the recent Brewin Dolphin Dragon Gold Cup in Kinsale. First sailed in 1947, the no-discard format is widely acknowledged as delivering closer competition right the way to the end of the competition.
“My first reaction was that why should a boat be penalised if they have a bad race or have gear problems,” said sailmaker Philip Watson. “But I remembered competing in Dragon Gold Cups in the 1990’s and how well-behaved boats were at mark roundings and avoiding problems.”
Keeping the excitement of competition going to the very end is crucial and is the essence of sport. The proof will be next June when the ICRA championship returns to Kerry for the second time and organisers at Tralee Bay Sailing Club (TBSC) are hoping for a strong turnout to match the fleet sizes of recent years in Dublin and Cork.
The event is timed to follow on from the National Yacht Club’s Dún Laoghaire to Dingle Race that may adjust its start day to allow boats to move around the coast after the 280-mile sprint from the East Coast. The O’Sullivan Marine 100-mile race from Galway is similarly timed to bring the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association crews southwards for the event in addition to feeder races from Cork Harbour. Delivery crews can also be arranged through TBSC ahead of the event that runs from June 13 th-15th.
Double-Olympic silver medallist and veteran Volvo Ocean Race skipper Ian Walker will be the guest speaker at next Friday’s annual Howth Yacht Club charity lunch in aid of the Bobbie Bastow Cancer Research Fund.
The former Green Dragon skipper will be speaking about his race experiences as well as the new format for the 2014-15 edition that sees a switch to a fleet of one-design 65-footers.
“The Volvo 65 has rekindled my interest in the race but it’s too early to say what will work out,” Walker told The Irish Times yesterday.
Speculation that he will skipper another Abu Dhabi entry is premature. The first team announced marks the return of an all-female crew for the first time since 2001.