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British Boats Expected to Make an Impact at ICRA Nationals as Volvo Cork Week Fleet 'Nears 200 Entries'

4th July 2022
Andrew McIrvine's British Ker 39 La Reponse will be one of many teams competing from overseas at Volvo Cork Week
Andrew McIrvine's British Ker 39 La Reponse will be one of many teams competing from overseas at Volvo Cork Week Credit: Rick Tomlinson

Racing at Volvo Cork Week starts 11th of July, after a four-year hiatus. The Royal Cork Yacht Club was 300 years old in 2020, but due to Covid the regatta couldn’t happen. Waiting two more years to celebrate the first tricentenary of any yacht club has not blunted the enthusiasm for Cork Week, if anything, the legendary Craic of Crosshaven will be bigger than ever writes Louay Habib

The international fleet is approaching close to 200 boats for Cork Week and, racing under IRC and ECHO Rules, the Irish ICRA National Championships will be competed for as part of the week.

Visitor Pata Negra is the biggest boat in IRC Zero

Lombard 46 Pata Negra - on charter for Cork WeekLombard 46 Pata Negra - on charter for Cork Week Photo: Rick Tomlinson

At the top end of the size scale, the well-travelled and highly successful Lombard 46 Pata Negra is the largest boat in the class and is chartered to Joe Brito from Rhode Island USA.

 Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40+ Signal 8 Photo: Afloat Jamie McWilliam's Ker 40+ Signal 8 Photo: Afloat

Tim Kane from the Royal Irish YC will race Extreme 37 WOW and Jamie McWilliam is bringing a crew from the Royal Hong Kong YC to mix with local sailors racing McWilliams Ker 40+ Signal 8.

Tim Kane's Royal Irish YC Extreme 37 WOWTim Kane's Royal Irish YC Extreme 37 WOW Photo: Afloat

Andrew McIrvine’s British Ker 39 La Reponse will be taking on the international fleet, the boat was formerly Anthony O’Leary’s Antix. 

La Réponse competing in the RORC IRC National Championship  in June Photo Rick TomlinsonLa Réponse competing in the RORC IRC National Championship in June Photo Rick Tomlinson

Cape 31's first Irish tour

IRC Zero will have the addition of the new one-design Cape 31 Class on their race course. 

Dave Maguire’s Cape 31 Valkyrie from Howth Photo: AfloatDave Maguire’s Cape 31 Valkyrie from Howth Photo: Afloat

The Cape 31 Class will race for the inaugural Cape 31 Irish National Championships under one-design rules. 

Darren Wright’s Cape 31 Adrenaline Photo: AfloatDarren Wright’s Cape 31 Adrenaline Photo: Afloat

It is the first proper meeting of the Irish boats with Anthony O’Leary’s RCYC Antix joining the Irish Cape 31s from Howth YC; Dave Maguire’s Valkyrie, Dan O'Grady Aja, and Darren Wright’s Adrenaline.

Dan O'Grady's Cape 31 Aja Photo: AfloatDan O'Grady's Cape 31 Aja Photo: Afloat

Anthony O’Leary’s RCYC Cape 31 Antix Anthony O’Leary’s RCYC Cape 31 Antix Photo: Rick Tomlinson

British ‘Cape Crusaders’ making the trip to Cork Week are Lance Adams’ Katabatic and Michael Wilson’s Shotgun. 

Lance Adams’ Cape 31 KatabaticLance Adams’ Cape 31 Katabatic Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Round Ireland Class Winner Darkwood competes in IRC One

Mike O’Donnell’s Hamble-based J/121 Darkwood Photo: AfloatMike O’Donnell’s Hamble-based J/121 Darkwood Photo: Afloat

The highest-rated boat in IRC One is Dubliner Mike O’Donnell’s Hamble-based J/121 Darkwood. Racing inshore after their class triumph in the Round Ireland Race, the Darkwood crew has plenty of Irish talent, including past RORC Commodore Michael Boyd, Barry Hurley, and Kenny Rumball.

First 50 Checkmate XX, sailed by ICRA Commodore David Cullen and Nigel BiggsFirst 50 Checkmate XX, sailed by ICRA Commodore David Cullen and Nigel Biggs Photo: Afloat

New to the fleet is the Irish First 50 Checkmate XX, sailed by ICRA Commodore David Cullen and Nigel Biggs, who were struck with COVID on the eve of the Round Ireland and could be worth watching especially given their recent showing in the K2Q 160-mile race from Dun Laoghaire to Cork for Cork Week.

Paul and Deirdre Tingle's X4ºAlpacaPaul and Deirdre Tingle's X4ºAlpaca Photo: Bob Bateman

There is no one who loves Cork Week more than Royal Cork’s own Paul and Deirdre Tingle who will be racing their X4ºAlpaca.

Mills 39 Zero II, is the former all-conquering Mariners Cove, which is chartered to Nick Burns from the Royal Hong Kong YC.

Mills 39 Zero II Photo: Rick TomlinsonMills 39 Zero II Photo: Rick Tomlinson

The Hong Kong invasion also includes Adrian McCarroll’s team, which have been coming to Cork Week for 20 years, they will be racing First 40.7 Playing Around.

Happy Daize Photo: Rick TomlinsonJames Chalmers' J112 Happy Daize Photo: Rick Tomlinson

Top competition from Great Britain includes Louise Minchin and Chris Jones’ J/111 JourneyMaker II and J/112 Happy Daize, skippered by James Chalmers.

 Louise Minchin and Chris Jones’ J/111 JourneyMaker II Louise Minchin and Chris Jones’ J/111 JourneyMaker II Photo: Rick Tomlinson

IRC Two Packs the J109s

Pat Kelly’s family team on Storm II from Rush and Howth Yacht Clubs Photo: AfloatPat Kelly’s family team on Storm II from Rush and Howth Yacht Clubs Photo: Afloat

A vast array of boats will be racing in IRC Two, with some close duels expected. Assume fireworks from the pack of J/109s racing, especially from the Kinsale YC team on Finbarr O'Regan’s Artful Dodjer, third overall in the Round Ireland Race, and Pat Kelly’s team racing the highly successful Storm that was Boat of the Week in Bangor Town Regatta.

Finbarr O'Regan’s Artful Dodjer from Kinsale Yacht Club Finbarr O'Regan’s Artful Dodjer from Kinsale Yacht Club Photo: Bob Bateman

Two of the latest J Boat designs, the J/99, will be in action with Michael and Richard Evans’ team from Howth YC racing Snapshot, second overall for the Round Ireland Race, taking on Wayne Palmer’s British team racing J/99 Jam.

Wayne Palmer’s British team racing J/99 JamWayne Palmer’s J/99 Jam Photo: Paul Wyeth

Michael and Richard Evans’ team from Howth YC racing SnapshotMichael and Richard Evans’ team from Howth YC racing Snapshot Photo: Bob Bateman

Highly competitive Half Tonners include two from the Royal Cork YC; Ronan & John Downing racing Miss Whiplash and David Dwyer’s Swuzzlebubble.

David Dwyer’s Half Tonner SwuzzlebubbleDavid Dwyer’s Half Tonner Swuzzlebubble Photo: Afloat

Ronan and John Downing's Half Tonner Miss WhiplashRonan and John Downing's Half Tonner Miss Whiplash Photo: Bob Bateman

Norbert Reilly’s team from Howth YC, racing Ghost Raider, will also be in the mix. Watch out for J/97 Jeneral Lee from Howth YC, sailed by Colin & Kathy Kavanagh, which is a proven winner. Steve Hayes’ First 34.7 Magic Touch from Greystones SC was second in the Coastal Class at Cork Week 2018 and switches up to IRC Two.

Quarter Tonners to do Battle in IRC Three

The 2019 Overall ICRA Champion X-302 Dux sailed by Caroline Gore-Grimes’ Howth YC team will be one to watch in IRC Three.

X-302 DuxX-302 Dux Photo: Afloat

A battle is expected among the Quarter Tonners. Pick of the classic designs are Anchor Challenge sailed by Royal Cork’s Conor Phelan and Sam Laidlaw’s Quarter Ton Cup winner; Cowes-based BLT. Colman Garvey and Kieran Kelleher’s Munster team will be racing Diamond.

Sam Laidlaw’s Quarter Ton Cup winner, BLT Photo: Photo Rick TomlinsonSam Laidlaw’s Quarter Ton Cup winner, BLT Photo: Photo Rick Tomlinson

Anchor Challenge sailed by Royal Cork’s Conor PhelanAnchor Challenge sailed by Royal Cork’s Conor Phelan Photo: Bob Bateman

Kieran Kelleher’s DiamondKieran Kelleher’s Diamond Photo: Bob Bateman

After IRC time correction, if the breeze is up, the Under 25 teams in the J24s should hopefully give the Quarter Tonners a run for their money, as will Royal Cork’s North Star, sailed by Fiona Young, and Pat Collins’ Ealu from Baltimore SC.

Fiona Young's Albin Express North Star Photo: Bob BatemanFiona Young's Albin Express North Star Photo: Bob Bateman

Coastal Fleet is a good mix of designs

Denis Hewitt & Others on the Mills 30 Raptor from Dublin Bay Photo: AfloatDenis Hewitt & Others on the Mills 30 Raptor from Dublin Bay Photo: Afloat

The Coastal Fleet is a mixed fleet of cruising designs. Denis Hewitt & Others Mills 30 Raptor will be defending their win in 2018 with a team from the Royal Irish YC.

Royal Cork’s J/122 Jellybaby (Jones Family) Photo: Bob BatemanRoyal Cork’s J/122 Jellybaby (Jones Family) Photo: Bob Bateman

With a strong Cork entry, local knowledge of tides could give the upper-hand in the Coastal Fleet. Royal Cork’s J/122 Jellybaby sailed by the Jones Family, and Frank Doyle’s J/112 Cara will be in the knowledge zone. Watch out for Patrick Burke’s First 40 Prima Forte, the Royal Irish team finished third in the 2018 Coastal Class on a previous boat.

Pete Smyth’s Sun Fast 3300 Searcher Photo: AfloatPete Smyth’s Sun Fast 3300 Searcher Photo: Afloat

Also, Pete Smyth’s Sun Fast 3300 Searcher from the National Yacht Club, will be quick on reaching legs in a solid breeze.

21 boat Non-Spinnaker Class is the biggest at ICRA Nationals/Cork Week 

Varying in size from Clive Doherty’s Westerly 29 Phaeton to J/122 Damacle raced by Jan and Susan Van der Puil. With 21 teams already entered the Non-Spinnaker Class is the largest class racing at the ICRA Nationals. Race reports for this class will focus on the progressive handicap system ECHO, where time corrections may alter after each race result. Darren McCann’s Dufour 35 Tailte will be defending their ECHO Class win from 2018. Clodagh O’Donovan’s Beneteau 35 and Thomas O'Mahony’s Hanse 31 Loch Grèibe were both on the podium in 2018.

IRC boat entry list is here

Published in Cork Week
Louay Habib

About The Author

Louay Habib

Email The Author

Louay Habib is a Maritime Journalist & Broadcaster based in Hamble, United Kingdom

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Cork Week 2022

Following the cancellation of the 2020 event, the dates for the 2022 edition of Cork Week in Cork Harbour is: 11 –15 July 2022

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