The Irish Team Racing Association National Team Racing Championships will be sailed out of the Royal St George Yacht Club on the 9th and 10th of November.
As the Royal St George Yacht Club celebrates 175 years of existence it is appropriate that the Irish National Championships returns to a club that pioneered team racing. Indeed, according to the accepted version of the birth of the sport, the idea of team racing in identical one-design dinghies took form in the bar of the club, as sailors from West Kirby SC relaxed after a days sailing against sailors from the "George". Two Irish teams, including one from the Royal St George YC, then travelled to West Kirby to compete in the inaugural Wilson Trophy in 1949. Teams from the club then went on to win this prestigious trophy in 1956, 1972 and 1974. Many of the 1970's generation of team racers are still active in the club, indeed we hope that at least one of them will be umpiring this year.
Last year's winning team, Wessex Exempt, will return to defend their title, whilst the local team George Knights hope to continue a long winning streak, broken only once in recent year by a team of upstarts - The Gladiators, also from the Royal St George YC. On the other hand the Youth Championship in recent years has been dominated by teams from Schull.
Entries are invited from teams of six sailors from Ireland or elsewhere. The entry fee is €360, which includes dinner on Saturday night in the club. Teams wishing to enter should contact the Irish Team Racing Association. A pre-entry deposit should be sent to arrive on or before Monday 21st October.
This is the major event on the Irish team racing calendar, both for the sailors and for the umpires. As usual for this event local umpires will be joined by umpires from the UK, and, this year, from Germany.
Associating colleagues from the UK ensures consistency in the application of the rules and in umpire technique. This is essential for teams who hope to compete in the UK and elsewhere. As team racing develops in Europe (albeit in a slightly different form) the prospects for Irish team racing have never been better.