With just a week to go to the first gun of the West Coast Championships in Clifden Co. Galway, the event is shaping up to be one to remember, the team at Clifden Boat Club have been working around the clock to ensure the event is a huge success.
It’s the 35th Anniversary of the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (WIORA), over the last thirty five years the association has gone from strength to strength which provides and promotes a programme of Inshore, Offshore and Coastal racing for cruisers, the association works very closely with the various clubs along the western seaboard.
At this year’s West Coast Championships the race courses will as always be of a very high standard with the well renowned International Race Officer Alan Crosbie taking full charge of the thirty boat plus fleet to ensure that they have four days, seven races of various courses including a coastal race, in which to decide the class winners and overall West Coast Champion.
Slightly down in numbers from previous West Coast Championships, but certainly not lacking in the quality of sailors and boats taking part.
Last year’s Class One winner Glen Cahill’s J109 ‘Joie De Vie’ from Galway Bay Sailing Club is travelling to defend his title from such boats as fellow club sailor Liam Burke’s Harley C33 ‘AWOL’, Rob Allen’s Corby 36 ‘Mustang Sally’ and Dan Counihan’s Beneteau 36.7 ‘Galileo’ from Tralee Bay Sailing Club.
In Class Two Ray McGibney’s Dehler 34 Optima 101 ‘Disaray’ from Foynes Yacht Club, last year’s class winner, West Coast Champion 2010 and who finished second overall at this year’s recent ICRA National Cruiser Championships in Royal Cork Yacht Club will be up against strong competition from previous winner Cormac Mc Donncha’s Beneteau 31.7 ‘Quelle Surprise’ travelling from Galway Bay Sailing Club, Stephen Mullaney’s Beneteau 375 ‘Walter Mitty’ travelling all the way from Howth Yacht Club and Brian Raftery’s Corby 26 ‘2602’ from Sligo Yacht Club.
Class Three promises top class competition with host club sailor Jackie Ward’s Parker 27 ‘Hallmark’ will be up against fellow club sailor Paul Ryan’s Toledo 30 ‘Saber’, John Paul Buckley’s Golden Shamrock ‘Battle’ from Foynes Yacht Club, Stephen Fitzgerald’s First 30E ‘Orient’ from Mayo Sailing Club and Gary Fort’s J24 ‘Jaguar’ from Tralee Bay Sailing Club.
As a reward for the efforts of those boats competing, top class prizes are being provided. Prizes will be presented to the winning teams over the four days of the event for individual classes each day in both handicap systems IRC & ECHO. On the final day of racing, Saturday, there will be prizes for the overalls in each class in both Handicap systems IRC and ECHO. For the production boat’s, there is an added incentive with X-Yacht, Sigma and Beneteau putting up cup’s for the best performing boat’s overall in these categories. And last, but definitely not least, the overall winners of the event. There will be a third and second overall out of all of the classes and finally the 2011 ‘The West Coast Champion’ will be crowned.
For more information please log onto www.clifdenboatclub.com