ICRA decision enables Irish boats compete in European championships

National tournament and IRC events set to be held concurrently during Cork Week in July

Irish boats do not now have to choose between the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA) national championships or IRC European championships thanks to an integration announced at last weekend’s ICRA conference.

The championships are being held concurrently during Cork Week this July as part of major celebrations to mark Royal Cork Yacht Club’s tricentenary.

The ICRA fleet is highly competitive and with a vast majority of Irish boats already holding IRC endorsed certificates, there is now the prospect of a strong Irish fleet for the Europeans.

It looks set to include John Maybury’s Dublin Bay J109 Joker II that has notched up four consecutive ICRA Class One victories.


Several Irish Class Zero and One boats, already equipped to Category Three standard, were keen not to be excluded from the Europeans given there were no upgrading costs.

At its conference, last Saturday, the ICRA decision to allow boats rating greater than 0.980 to participate in both ICRA and the IRC Europeans was widely welcomed.

“I had intended to do the ICRA nationals only, but this is now a fantastic opportunity to do the IRC Europeans as well which may never have been on the cards for us otherwise,” said defending champion Maybury.

"I haven't studied whether there will be any difference in regulations but hope not so we can look forward to testing ourselves against the top European teams on equal terms. It will make it very special indeed," the Royal Irish Yacht Club skipper added.

As well as these two significant regattas, Cork Week, from July 13th, will also incorporate the 1720 European Championships, the Beaufort Cup, a Classic Yacht regatta and the southern championships for the International Dragon Class.

It certainly makes for a tantalising prospect in Cork Harbour, and the hope must be that an Irish boat can repeat the 2016 performance of RCYC's own Paul Gibbons who won the inaugural IRC Europeans in the Quarter Tonner Anchor Challenge on home waters.

Three Irish offshore sailors took a class win at last week's Royal Ocean Racing Club Caribbean 600 Race in Antigua. The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Michael Boyd, Marshall King and James Murphy won IRC One sailing onboard Giles Redpath's Lombard 46 Pata Negra. Boyd, the 1996 Round Ireland Race winner, is expected to enter this summer's 21st race from Wicklow where he is a front-runner to win the top prize of a Volvo car.

Another prospective Round Ireland entry launches tonight in Dún Laoghaire Harbour amid some fanfare. Yacht broker MGM Boats will mark the debut of its new Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300 model – a French marque shortlisted for the 2024 Paris Olympics – at the Royal Irish Yacht Club, a co-host of June 20th’s Round Ireland Race.

After a buoyant start on Monday, Royal Cork’s Peter and Robert O’Leary, have slipped back to sixth overall after scoring 18th in race three at the halfway stage of the 93rd Star class Bacardi Cup in Miami. The brothers won the first race in a quality fleet and were lying third after two. Racing continues until today in the no-discard event.

David O'Brien

David O'Brien

David O'Brien, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a former world Fireball sailing champion and represented Ireland in the Star keelboat at the 2000 Olympics