not be able to defend their title this weekend a top quality field has entered the three day IRM National Championships which are being hosted by the Royal Corinthian YC.
Babbalaas won last year with Ben Ainslie on the helm, but McLean has not yet put his boat in the water and last week decided that there was not enough time left to mount a serious campaign in time.
With 15 top drawer race boats due to line up the only other high profile absentee will be Nick Hewson's Farr 52 Team Tonic whose crew have a wedding to attend.
Both of the other Farr 52s - Bear of Britain and Chernikeeff 2 - share the bill as the scratch boats. Two IC45s are entered: RORC Commodore Chris Little's Bounder and Glyn Williams' Wolf return to the fray, with the latter probably shading it as pre-event favourite:
"Although we've been sailing the Swan 45 so far this season Wolf is set up as it was in Cork and we still have pretty much the same crew so we are reasonably confident we can do well. If there is an advantage the IC45 has - which was shown last year a bit by Babbalaas - it's that you can sail in reasonably clear area behind the Farr 52s and should not be getting involved with the 40 footers, the Farr 40s and the Kers," suggests Wolf's tactician Kevin Sproul who will be have his business partner Jeremy Robinson in opposition as tactician on Bounder.
John Shepherd's Ker 11.3 Fair Do's V has been top 11.3 this season so far and must rank as one of the main favourites also.
Racing starts on Saturday with two races back to back followed by an evening dinner in the Royal Corinthian. Sunday is sponsored by Farr International and sees another three races scheduled with the class AGM to be held in the evening followed by a barbecue, while the two final races of the series, Races 6 and 7, are sponsored by RORC.
"Overall, given everything else that is going on this season, we can be reasonably happy with the level of entries for this weekend. There should be at least as many boats as last year and if the Spring Series is anything to go by, the quality of racing should be excellent," said IRM Class Association Chair Steph Merry.