Kinsale’s entry still the envy of many
The fleet of 90 boats gathered for Covestone Asset Management Sovereign’s Cup this week represents a considerable feat
Kinsale harbour: Not one of the new national champions are competing in Kinsale this week yet the fleets in most classes are at least as big, if not bigger. Photograph: Alan Betson
If a bellwether of club level competition in Irish sailing were ever needed, the biennial gathering in Kinsale for four days of racing would be it.
From a time when organisers of the Covestone Asset Management Sovereign’s Cup imposed an upper entry limit of 150 boats, in the heady days of the Celtic Tiger, there has been a a fall off, but the turn-outs are still the envy of regattas in other countries.
The fleet of 90 boats gathered at Kinsale Yacht Club this week represents a considerable feat.
For sure, in two weeks’ time, upwards of 400 boats will race in the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta. It’s all relative and this entry continues the theme of a strong demand for short, well-organised racing series.
And yet these events could be bigger again, even in recessionary times. Bigger, not in terms of size but for the increased competition that bigger fleets deliver, with better facilities ashore and for organisational cost savings.
The championships, under the Irish Cruiser Racing Association have for 10 years offered the best racing in Ireland for the most competitive crews and are a “must-do” series.
But with the bulk of the season still to run and with events such as Kinsale and Dun Laoghaire yet to happen, most crews of any ability are only getting into their stride.
Not one of the new national champions are competing in Kinsale yet the fleets in most classes are at least as big, if not bigger. The reason isn’t apathy but more likely a timing and crew availability issue.
Three major events within one calendar month is onerous and is a fact being picked up in the post-national championship discussions within the ICRA organisation.
The three or four day format that begins racing on a Thursday requires significant leave in a short period of time for the largely amateur-level crews.
Although event venues further afield require often lengthy deliveries to and from the coast, as one ICRA official points out, getting two crew to do a delivery on a Monday is easier than getting the entire crew to take time off to race on a Friday.
The outcome of the discussions is far from final but the perennial problem of fixtures congestion is still not settled.
What is certain is that better competition and greater participation is likely with more co-ordinated fixtures across the entire four or five month-long main sailing season.