Galway Bay will be aflush with colour this August when more than 60 of the country’s top cruisers arrive for what promises to be some spectacular sailing action.
For the first time in its history Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC ) in association Irish Cruiser Racing Association (ICRA ) will host the ICRA National Championships here in Galway.
The event is expected to bring over 500 sailors to Galway for that week which will add greatly to the summer buzz around the city.
It will also incorporate the West of Ireland Offshore Racing Association (WIORA ) Championships and this comes on the back of GBSC and Inis Mor Sailing Club hosting hugely successful WIORA Championships in 2015 and 2017 respectively.
ICRA is the national association that represents the cruiser racing sector in Ireland and in addition to organising a national championship, it also selects national teams to compete in major international events such as the Rolex Commodores’ Cup.
Ireland enjoyed great success in 2010, winning the cup for the first time and then followed up with another win in 2014. As this event is recognised as the world championship of cruiser racing it is a great honour for Ireland.
WIORA is the regional association that provides and promotes a programme of inshore, offshore and coastal racing for cruisers. The association works closely with each yacht and boat club along the Western Seaboard.
A large volunteer team has been assembled to plan and run the event and the team is overseen by regatta chairman Martin Breen.
“Galway Bay Sailing Club is delighted to have secured both the ICRA National Cruiser Championships and the WIORA West Coast Championships for 2018 on Galway Bay. We are further delighted to be able to host the event from Galway Harbour in the City Centre due to the remarkable support of the Port of Galway,” said Mr Breen.
“The merits of this venue are well known to the public due to the success of events such as the Volvo Stopovers, the Annual Oyster Festival and the Annual ‘Sea-fest’ Festival. In addition, the racing will take place off the Salthill promenade and seafront which is a natural sailing amphitheatre complete with its footfall, spectators, other entertainment events, and the backdrop of the Burren,” he said.
The event will be based out of the docks and GBSC are delighted and privileged to have secured the cooperation of Port of Galway who have been extremely generous in committing to facilitating all entries.
Harbour Master Captain Brian Sheridan said the port at Galway lends itself naturally to hosting on-water events such as WIORA and ICRA.
“With Galway Bay being a fantastic ‘Blue Playground’ to take to the water in what I’m sure will be a successful and very competitive time. The facilities ashore post racing, are second to none in bringing a festival atmosphere for sailors the length and breadth of our coastline,” he said.
There are multiple sponsorship opportunities available and local businesses are encouraged to get onboard with the event and can contact [email protected] for further information.