On Friday 8th of September at the Monday.com ICRA National Championships at Howth Yacht Club (HYC), yachts gathered from around the country, including some of our lakes.

This was the main “on water” feature event for the Howth Maritime Festival which took place over the weekend. This attracted thousands of people into Howth who enjoyed a maritime and sailing experience which contributed hugely to the success of the festival.

On Friday, the light easterly winds failed to develop into a fair racing breeze for all fleets, but the J24 fleet out of the 70-strong fleet had great competitive racing.
Haze from early morning didn’t clear on one of the warmest days of the year and as a result, the south easterly forecast wind did not develop over all three race courses.
Race Officer Derek Bothwell and his team for the J24 course, which was the most northerly course area from the Club enjoyed a gentle east south east breeze in time to complete a successful windward leeward course of two laps. Kinsailor won it, Jade from Wicklow Sailing Club was 2nd and in 3rd place was Smugairle Roin. The other classes enjoyed a sociable, beautiful sunny day on the water with many crews taking in the sun and enjoying a swim and picnic. Mike Richards from the Royal Ocean Racing Club, reminded competitors ashore of their requirements to compete, he also completed inspections of boats both ashore and afloat which kept him fit for the day and competitors compliant with their IRC rating certificate. Mike Butterfield, World Sailing International Judge kept a sharp eye on the fleets racing afloat and heard and found on protests as required over the weekend. ICRA are most grateful to them to ensure the event was run to the highest international standards.

Saturday brought champagne sailing conditions with beautiful sunshine, flat water, and a steady east south east wind of between 8 and 14 knots. Have a look at this video clip for proof!
Or browse through this excellent gallery both of which were created by David Branigan during the event here. Also work checking out Cormac Farrelly’s video of the event.

Four races were completed on all three course areas, the racing was close and competitive in all fleets and none of the five divisions contesting their national titles had runaway leaders. All crews arrived ashore with a tanned smile on their faces to enjoy the warm welcome and reception provided by HYC. The Championship dinner was a very enjoyable event with Jill Sommerville as M.C. running speeches from Neil Murphy, Commodore HYC, David Cullen, Commodore ICRA, Brian Raferty Committee Member, IRCA and Mark Usher, Chairman of the J24 Class.
In a nutshell all speakers gave a very warm, welcome to the J24 fleet and all agreed that they brought in a fresh and fun dimension to the event. A lively impromptu sing song was led by Splashdance’s bow man and guitarist, Alan O’Brien who led a 2-3 hour session, where dozens of merry crewmembers enjoyed their favourite songs, all of which he knew, be there at the RIYC next year Alan, you run a great singsong!

Sunday morning the racing was postponed for an hour and in spite of determined efforts by the race management teams, there was no overcoming the weather that delivered near calm conditions and torrential downpours of rain that only allowed a race in Class Zero by PRO, David Lovegrove and his team. This was won by Paul O’Higgins and his crew in Rockabill VI, second was John Treanor and his crew in ValenTina and third was Pete Smyth and his crew in Searcher.

There were 27 clubs represented in the 70 strong fleet from all coasts and some of the lakes of Ireland. There was a healthy representation amongst the prize winners
which demonstrates the health in cruiser racing nationally. The prizegiving was well executed by Jill Sommerville and ICRA Secretary Denis Byrne, RCYC. Speeches from David Cullen, Commodore ICRA thanked HYC and their volunteers for running a great and memorable event. Fingal Co Co had part sponsored the event and Mayor, Adrian Henchy welcomed all competitors and
thanked the enormous voluntary effort that is required to run a successful event of this size.

Four races with all podium results in IRC Class 1 ensured a win in this class and for the overall event to John and Suzie Murphy’s Outrajeous at the monday.com ICRA National Championships, who will represent ICRA at Irish Sailing’s, Champions Cup next month.

Speaking at the prize-giving John Murphy paid tribute to his crew on Outrajeous in a short and emotional speech where he revealed that after three years campaigning, he was close to calling it a day before this season. However, his friend and helmsman Neil Spain persuaded him to give it another year leading to this weekend’s joyous outcome.

The full 70-strong fleet representing 27 clubs from the coasts of Ireland plus inland venues saw Dublin and Cork boats win four of the six individual championship titles, whilst the fifth went to Courtown Sailing Club and the sixth to Bray Sailing Club.

Amongst the big boat entries of Class Zero, Brian Jones, Jelly Baby from the Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) had a narrow one-point win on IRC rating over John Treanor’s ValenTina from the National Yacht Club. That result reversed under the ECHO Performance handicap, whilst Peter Syth and his crew were 3rd in both IRC and Echo.

In Class 1 in a fleet of 11 yachts, 1st was Outrajeous, 2nd was John Minnis and his crew onboard Final Call II, 3rd was John Maybury and his crew onboard Joker 2.

In Class 2 with a fleet of 10 boats, James Dwyer with his classic New Zealand halftonner Swuzzlebubble, RCYC won after Johnny Swan on Harmony from the host club couldn’t match the whole podium scoreline from Saturday’s four races, 3rd was HYC Mata with the Wright, Sheridan & De Neve partnership.

In Class 3 with 13 entries, Joanne Hall and Martin Mahon onboard Snoopy from Courtown Sailing Club were victorious, that counted two race wins and all podium results, 2nd was Nico & Caroline Gore Grimes crew onboard Dux and 3rd was Brendan Foley, RStGYC and his crew onboard ALLIG8R.

In the Non-Spinnaker Class with 7 entries, 1st was Dermot Skehan and his crew onboard Toughnut, 2nd was Demelza with Windsor & Steffi crew and 3rd was Andy George and his crew onboard Splashdance.

David Bailey and partners with Hard on Port from Bray Sailing Club won the J24 national championship title over five races in their 20-boat fleet, 2nd was Kinsailor and 3rd was Tadg Loingsigh and his crew onboard Janx Spirit from Tralee Bay Sailing Club. This fleet also comprised of many of the Under 25 crews that are emerging from a number of clubs around the country as a pathway event into larger cruiser racing.

The U25 trophy was won by the crew on Kinsailor hailing from the West Cork club who were also placed 2nd overall and just three points off the overall winner. All results are available at https://hyc.ie/icra-results

“Considering the challenging weather conditions that the race management team and competitors alike had to face, we’ve a super championship and Saturday’s racing must count as one of the most memorable Sailing days in Ireland of recent times,” commented ICRA Commodore David Cullen. “We’re already looking forward to next year’s championship to be hosted by the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire and we’re keen to receive feedback – good, bad or indifferent – to help deliver a great event.”

A huge thanks and appreciation go to the main sponsor https://monday.com/ and their representative, Martin McNamara for their generous support and sponsorship of this memorable and successful event. In addition, grateful thanks go to all the brilliant volunteers who made this event the success that it was. Jill Sommerville, the Championship Chairperson did an outstanding job in running the event, socially, it was a great fun event, whilst afloat Principal Race Officer, David Lovegrove and his three teams delivered excellent racing in challenging and frustrating conditions.

Boat owners, crews, participants and non-participants alike are welcome to contact the association by email here (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or through social channels.


John Leech, ICRA Communications

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