J109s and 1720s to compete at Cork Week

Irish Nationals to be part of Ireland's top regatta this July

Thursday May 31st 2012, Author: Louay Habib, Location: Ireland

This July, there will be eight different classes racing at Cork Week, Ireland’s most prestigious sailing regatta. The vast majority of the yachts will be racing under IRC and ECHO handicap systems, but Cork Week also boats two one design classes - the J/109 and 1720 classes.

The J/109 Irish National Championships will be part of Cork Week and it is an open event. This month, Royal Cork Yacht Club’s Ian Nagle and his J/109 Jelly Baby scored a fine win in the Irish IRC National Championship hosted by ICRA at Howth Yacht Club. In a competitive division Jelly Baby won a tense last race to defeat the defending champion Pat Kelly’s Storm II.

Jelly Baby will be racing in the J/109 Irish National Championship at Cork Week and Nagle is relishing the prospect: “I honestly believe this year has the makings of the best Cork Week for ages. It looks like we will have a similar number of boats as last year and I am absolutely delighted. In my opinion, the commercialisation that comes with a huge regatta means that it detracts from the sailing. The slimming down of Cork Week means it will be an event for sailors rather than a mass audience. Like-minded people out to have some great racing and a few pints afterwards that is what Cork Week should be all about. In 2010, we had a fleet of 18 with some fantastic close racing in the J/109s. Close spirited racing in heavenly surroundings, sailing up past Cobh up the harbour with boats all around you is just brilliant but there are so many wonderful courses, in Cork we are absolutely spoilt for choice.

"After sailing, as soon as you walk off the boat there is a great atmosphere with everybody having a ball. I don’t think you get that at too many places these days. It will be a great buzz in Crosshaven this year and the Irish J/109 Nationals will be a great event, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

The 1720 Sportsboat class first raced at Cork Week in 1996 and the class quickly established itself as an affordable competitive keelboat with 68 yachts on the start line in 1998. The 1720 Class has attracted world-class sailors, including Ben Ainslie and Dean Barker (who both failed to make the podium in 1998...). As an exciting fast planing keelboat, the 1720 experience is difficult to match. In recent years the 1720 Class has been undergoing something of a renaissance in Ireland with 25 pocket rockets based in County Cork alone.

From 8-10 June, the Royal Cork will host the 1720 National Championship with Mark Mansfield and Terry English looking to retain their title. Anthony O’Leary was runner up in 2011 and O’Leary will most definitely be looking to go one better in the National Championships but not during Cork Week, as he will be at the helm of his Ker 39 Antix for the regatta.

“I expect there could be as many as fifteen 1720s at the Nationals, which bodes well for Cork Week,” suggested O’Leary. “However, I know of at least three excellent 1720s available for charter for Cork Week. The 1720 is quite literally made for Cork Week, it is a fantastic opportunity for sportsboats enthusiasts. Great racing, good company and serious bang for your buck. A well-sorted 1720 will charter for about 1500 Euros for Cork Week, split five-ways that is extremely good value.”

Besides the two one design classes, there will be six different handicap divisions and a separate prize for Quarter Tonners. From custom built yachts to cruising yachts racing under white sails only, Cork Week provides a sublime sailing environment for a wide variety of sailors, young and old.

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