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Three Cork IRC victories, two titles retained and Howth success on ECHO and in the BMW Corinthian Cup were the outstanding features of the overall results of the BMW Cruiser Nationals at HYC, with the 7-race series finishing on Sunday in glorious sunshine but in trickier northerly breezes.

Royal Cork boats Antix and Tiger retained their Division 0 and 3 Irish titles respectively but in totally different ways. Anthony O’Leary’s Antix was pushed so hard all the way by Richard Fildes’ Impetuous that the Welsh Corby 37’s double win on the last day set up the intriguing scenario of a tie after discards. With four wins to Fildes’ three, O’Leary made it by the tightest of margins.

The opposite was the case in Division 3 where the Keneficks’ dominance on Tiger was underlined by two more wins on the third day to seal an emphatic victory by the biggest margin (9 points) of any fleet. The pre-event favourites saw off the early challenge of Tim Goodbody’s White Mischief, although the Royal Irish boat had the consolation of winning the ECHO award from another RIYC boat Quest.

In Division 0, Crazy Horse from Howth (Chambers/Reilly) took the ECHO honours, with four race wins enough to beat the National’s Vincent Farrell in Tsunami by two points. Only two points separating the top three showed how competitive Division 1 was on IRC with another Royal Cork entry Jelly Baby (Nagle & O’Malley) emerging on top, with a final race win the difference in edging out Xtravagance (Colin Byrne) from RIYC while more success went to the Dun Laoghaire club with Rockabill V’s (Paul O’Higgins) narrow on ECHO.

After the first day, it was pretty straightforward for Checkmate XV, Nigel Biggs’ entry from the Royal St. George, and three more race wins was enough to finish with a 7.5 points gap over second-placed Dux (Anthony Gore-Grimes of HYC). The performance was also sufficient to take the ECHO plaudits too, although the margin over Howth’s Dave Cullen in King One was a little closer.

The only perfect scoreline in the Championships came in Division 4 where Team Toy Yot from Howth had a clean sweep on IRC while consistency earned Malahide visitor Goyave (Camier/Fitzpatrick) second overall, with the latter reversing the order on ECHO by virtue of one more race win.

Howth boats were very much to the fore in the non-spinnaker classes competing for the BMW Corinthian Cup, winning the A and B fleets on both handicap systems. On the Rox (C&J Boyle) wrapped up the A division with two wins to finish six points ahead of Bite the Bullet (Colm Bermingham) while they had five points to spare over Colm Buckley’s Blue Eyes on ECHO.

In the B fleet, Harry Byrne’s Alphida (with Paddy Cronin on helm) stayed in the top four throughout and also recorded three wins to beat off the challenge of Joe Carton’s Voyager on both handicaps. A second and a bullet on the last day brought Richard McAllister’s Force Five into the top three frame on ECHO at the end.

At the prize-giving ceremony, Barry Rose, Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association complimented Howth YC on its handling of this major national event for a third time, and paid particular thanks to the organising committee, the three race officers and their teams of helpers and RIB drivers.  Other speakers included John Ives, Managing Director of sponsors BMW Ireland, and Harry Hermon, CEO of the Irish Sailing Association. 

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The BMW Cruiser Nationals, Howth Yacht Club’s biggest event of the year, was officially opened at a Reception attended by the Mayor of Fingal, Cllr. Gerry McGuire and the Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, both of whom addressed the gathering of competitors, championship organisers and regatta volunteers. 

Chris Howard, Chairman of the Organising Committee, introduced those at the podium who included Michael Nugent, Sales & Marketing Director of the sponsors BMW; the Commodore, Roger Cagney; Barry Rose, Commodore of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association; and Berchmans Gannon representing the Irish Sailing Association. 

A notable feature of the reception was the manner in which the Minister addressed the attendees, without the aid of notes! As a sailor himself, he said he was envious of the competitors getting out of the water for three days of action in such wonderful weather. 

Other attendees included local public representatives, the Harbour Master and representatives of Fingal County Council and Howth is Magic. 

The Championship has attracted 123 entries, a record for the event which HYC is hosting for the third time since its inception.

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A record entry of 123 boats racing in 7 divisions will compete for honours at this weekend’s BMW Cruiser Nationals being hosted by Howth Yacht Club on behalf of the Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA).

Seven races over three days – a mixture of round-the-cans and windward-leewards - will be provided on three separate courses, with Class 0 and 1 together, Class 2, 3 and 4 on another, and two divisions of non-spinnaker cruisers racing for the Corinthian Cup.

Last year’s championship winners in the first four divisions will all be in Howth to defend their titles. Anthony O’Leary’s Antix from Cork will again be among the favourites in Class 0 although he can expect strong challenges from Jump Juice (Denise Phelan) and George Sisk’s WOW, while Richard Fildes Impetuous from Wales had a useful warm-up on the race track in winning last weekend’s Corby Cup.

Pat Kelly’s Storm (HYC & Rush) won Class 1 in Cork last year and there are six other J109s in the line-up to keep them on their toes. Six of the 21 entries are from outside Dublin.

In Class 2, Brian Goggin’s Corby 25 Allure from Kinsale was the winner a year ago and will be expected to be a front-runner in the biggest fleet (31 boats) in the Championships, the majority of which are visitors. Of the local entries, Dave Cullen’s King One, Ian Byrne’s Sunburn and Anthony Gore-Grimes Dux are contenders.

The modified quarter-tonner Tiger (Neil Kennefick) from Cork is undoubtedly the boat to beat in Class 3, having been the outstanding boat in this division over the past couple of years. Half a dozen J24s will have to be at their very best to compete against this very fast, well sailed boat, while in Class 4, Goyave (Camier/Fitzpatrick) from Malahide and Basil MacMahon’s Holly of the host club will be fancied.

The Corinthian Cup entries have been split into two divisions, with local boats Changeling (Kieran Jameson) and Bite the Bullet (Colm Bermingham) among those fancied in divi

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15th May 2012

Entries for the BMW Cruiser Nationals at Howth Yacht Club in two weeks’ time have broken the 100 boats mark, a figure which also includes 66 boats and crews in Howth for the three-day event.

The Irish Cruiser Racing Association is expected to confirm the breakpoints for the various classes in the near future, but it is likely that four of the classes involved will each have highly competitive fleets of 20 boats.

In Class Zero, the leading contenders will be Antix and Jump Juice from Cork, WOW from Dun Laoghaire and Crazy Horse from the host club.

Up to 20 boats ranging between 30ft. and 50ft. are expected to contest the non-spinnaker Corinthian Cup. 
Organising Committee Chairman Chris Howard is delighted with the entry level, saying that the magic figure of 100 boats had always been the target and that it was pleasing to have achieved it. 
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