Ireland's successful year at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) was crowned this week with the election of Dun Laoghaire's Michael Boyd (64) as Commodore of the London club, only the second Irish Commodore in its 89-year history.
Vowing to work hard to “preserve the Round Ireland Race as an important event in RORC’s increasingly international calendar”, the Royal Irish (RIYC) sailor says the 40 per cent premium in the season’s points championship for the biennial Round Ireland will be an important weighting factor for the next race.
A committed offshore sailor, Boyd was a member of Ireland’s winning Commodores’ Cup 2014 team on the Grand Soleil 43 Quokka, chartered by himself and fellow RIYC sailor
. The team also won at Volvo Cork Week.
RORC organises offshore yacht races in the UK and beyond, including the Fastnet race and the Commodore’s Cup. It has a full agenda in 2015 that includes events such as the current Transatlantic race, the Caribbean 600 and the Atlantic Ocean Racing Series.
“The Rolex Fastnet Race is likely to sell out very fast when entries open on 12 January,” said Boyd and the club’s merger with the Royal Corinthian in Cowes means lots of ‘integration’ work lies ahead.
In what looks likely to be a busy three-year term ashore, Boyd plans to continue his association with Quokka in 2015, planning a full offshore campaign, including the Fastnet.
Ireland had a great RORC year in 2014. In July, there was Commodores’ Cup success by a record margin that ultimately leading to team captain Anthony O’Leary’s Antix being named as RORC Yacht of the Year last month.
In August, Lula Belle's stunning performance in another RORC fixture, the Round Britain and Ireland Race gave Dublin two-handers Liam Coyne and Brian Flahive a convincing class win on the 1800-mile voyage.
Boyd hopes Irish participation in the British club will continue to grow especially as next year’s RORC Irish Sea Lyver Trophy Race will finish in Dun Laoghaire in July and the Fastnet Race will be in Irish waters racing around an Irish rock.
Boyd follows fellow Dublin Bay sailor John Bourke who acted as RORC's first Irish Commodore from 1994-96.
In small boat news, Royal Cork Yacht Club's three man National 18 class has voted to adopt a new Phil Morrison designed hull. Production on the centre-board dinghy has started with 12 hulls already on order for 2015. A prototype N18 named 'Odyssey' was launched in October 2013 and trialled by upwards of 150 sailors at venues across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.