Cruiser-racers get green light for world championships

Rival rating systems, ORC and IRC, will work towards ‘jointly scored championships’

Handicap cruiser-racing on Dublin Bay. The IRC rating will get its first world championships in 2018 following a decision at the World Sailing Conference in Barcelona. Photograph: David O’Brien

Handicap cruiser-racing on Dublin Bay. The IRC rating will get its first world championships in 2018 following a decision at the World Sailing Conference in Barcelona. Photograph: David O’Brien

 

A green light for an IRC World Championships will bring an end to a decade of wrangling over the right to host the rating’s first ever world title for cruiser-racers.

And in a further breakthrough at last week’s World Sailing Conference in Barcelona, it was also agreed that rival rating systems ORC and IRC would work towards a “jointly scored World Championships”, possibly in 2018.

Up until now cruiser-racers could race for world honours but only under ORC because World Sailing blocked an IRC title event on the basis the rating relied on a “secret element”. This week’s breakthrough came after the rule was shared with the world governing body to confirm no human element was used in its computation.

The development means Irish cruiser-racers who use IRC as their primary rating system can now contest world championship honours. It is likely the first World Championships will be staged in Holland in 2018, possibly in Scheveningen, according to insiders.

IRC issued over 7,721 certificates worldwide in 2015. IRC racing represents Ireland’s biggest cruiser fleet with 400 users here under the control of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA).

Dublin Bay’s Michael Boyd, the Commodore of London’s Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) that administers IRC, described the announcement as “a major breakthrough”.

IRC is expanding with new territories in India and Taiwan, growth in Japan and China and very encouraging numbers for the start of the year from many Northern European countries, said Boyd.

Unseated

Also in Barcelona, Kim Andersen was elected as president as the conference drew to a close. Anderson’s election resulted in the defeat of incumbent Carlo Croce. The Italian was unseated mid-way through what should have been an eight-year term.

On the Olympic dinghy front, it’s all change in Ireland’s men skiff as Belfast double Olympians part company in favour of two separate campaigns in the 49er dinghy for 2020.

Tonight in Cork harbour, London and Rio helmsman Ryan Seaton will announce a new campaign when the Co Down sailor teams up with Royal Cork’s 2014 youth silver medallist Seafra Guilfoyle (20).

Former crew Matt McGovern is also launching a new campaign with details of its composition yet to be released.

Seaton and Guilfoyle will make a formal announcement of the campaign on Friday evening in Crosshaven. The duo say they are looking to build on Rio’s top-10 finish, Ireland’s top 49er result so far.

In a further boost for Irish skiff class hopes, a boat that is not yet raced domestically, there are also three other fledgling campaigns readying for Tokyo and beyond too.

Oisin O’Driscoll from Schull and Mark Hassett from Baltimore, Seán and Tadhg Donnelly from Dun Laoghaire, and Robert Dickson from Howth with Sean Waddilove from Skerries, have all been involved in training camps at home and in Spain, bringing Irish interest in the 16-footer to an all-time high.

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