Presidents Report.

J/24 Association of Ireland

J/24 AGM 2022 President’s Report

The 2022 season was an interesting year to say the least, as society got back to normal and with the distractions of everybody wanting to go on holidays and J1’s etc it was a matter of maintaining the fleet as we build towards the Europeans at the end of August.

The season started in April with a training weekend / get together in Lough Ree Yacht Club under the supervision of Cillian Dickson and the crew of Headcase. We had all kinds of conditions from light winds on Saturday to much stronger conditions on Sunday. On the Saturday evening everybody headed into town and a great night was had by all despite a mix up with the booking in The Dead Centre.

It was then onto our first event of the year with the Northerns at Lough Erne Yacht Club. Between one thing and another the entries were low by recent standards with only 12 boats participating. Despite this June and her team in Lough Erne put on a great event as usual with superb racing and hospitality. Congratulations to David Bailey and the team on Hard on Port on winning the Northern Championship.

Even though WIORA is not part of the J/24 main calendar 9 boats made it to Kilrush for the 3 day series. In very testing conditions Tadgh O’Loingsigh and team Janx Spirit put together some consistent results to win the event. On a personal note after an unfortunate incident in which I lost my boat I would like to thank the members for all their help and support at the time, its a testament to the class that we have strong bonds and are willing to help one and another.

Next up was the Nationals hosted by Foynes Yacht Club, only 18 boats entered which was a bit disappointing after the highs of 2019, however not to worry Foynes put on a great event. The Headcase boys showed why they are the team to beat, after their excellent performance in Keil week and the UK Nationals, winning both, they put together an impressive set of results to win the National title with a race to spare.

On that note I would like to congratulate Headcase with their success this season, together with Janx Spirit who also had a creditable result in the UK Nationals finishing 4th overall. It is great to have teams like this driving up the standard of Irish J/24 sailing and setting the goals we need to achieve.

As we approach the highlight of the season, the Europeans in Howth , we first had the Eastern Championships also in Howth, 21 boats competed here, an event of 2 days, Saturday saw a big breeze build which lead to a number of boats sustaining damage including a dismasting, with the assistance of the class everybody was back on the water again for racing on day 2 with much easier conditions to race in. Well done again to Headcase who took overall victory.

Then it was on to the Europeans and we couldn’t have asked for better weather, well except for the last day, we had sunshine and great breeze which Race Officer David Lovegrove made the best of and got all 10 races in. No one team dominated the results and with tight racing it went down to the wire with the possibility of 5 or 6 boats capable of winning overall. In the end the top 3 were separated by 1 point with the Greek boat Jmania winning on tiebreaker. The Best Irish boat was Kinsailor the Under 25 team from Kinsale who showed great improvements as they progressed through the season finishing 3rd, Headcase were 5th and Hard on Port 6th . A great achievement to have 3 boats in the top 6. Thanks to all in Howth for organising a superb event, a long time in he planning.

I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks the various people: Fergus O’Kelly for his many years as class measurer, as Fergus steps down he is happy to continue supporting the class and will help with the training of the new measurer. To Derek and Gaye Bothwell for not only doing race committee at our events but Derek has been a great contact in Howth when it comes to hosting events etc. To the Committee and host clubs for all their work throughout the season and to Brain Raftery for all his work with the Under 25 programme.

Finally as we will soon be approaching the start of another season, enthusiasm is high I would strongly encourage all members to set aside the dates and make every effort they can to support these events, a lot of time and effort goes into organising these and after all its great racing and great craic. Let’s continue to see the class go from strength to strength.

Thank You

Mark Usher

President – J/24 Association of Ireland.