Club Racing Classes
Club Racing is the heart & soul, principle activity and raison d’être of Kinsale Yacht Club and its members. The regular club racing season starts in May and ends in September. It is split into week day racing, which takes place in the evenings when people can get to the club from work and school, and weekend racing, which is generally early afternoon starts on Saturdays. There are out of season events early in the Spring and late in the Autumn but most of these tend to be Open Meetings and are organised for club members and visitors alike.
The fleets or classes of boats that race in Kinsale can be split into three distinct groups, Cruisers, One Design Keelboats and One Design Dinghies.
Cruisers are boats that have cabins and are capable of sailing out of sight of land and are therefore equipped for all weather conditions. Significantly there are very few cruisers that are identical and so the relative performance of each boat is different. It is therefore necessary to use a handicapping system to calculate the winner of a race. A larger more powerful boat, usually the first boat to cross the finish line, will have to ‘give time’ to a smaller less powerful boat. The time they have to give is calculated using one of the handicapping systems IRC or ECHO, and it is based on the boat’s elapsed time multiplied by some factor arrived at when all the boat’s performance producing paramenters are taken into account. Quite often a particular type or size of boat will be better suited to a particular set of sailing conditions. Cruisers usually have at least five crew on board for racing, some of the bigger boats may have as many as 14, there is no limit to crew numbers except the decision of the skipper.
The Cruiser fleet is large and is divided into three classes - Cruisers 1, 2 & 3 - roughly along size and all-round performance lines. A subset of the Cruiser Class is the White Sails Class, which, as it name suggests, is a class for cruisers that race without using spinnakers (specialised downwind sails). Less crew are required to sail a boat that doesn’t use a spinnaker and many crews enjoy it as it requires less people on board, less work and can help introduce new people to sailing without overloading them with complicated boat handling manouveres. The White Sail fleet races on Friday evenings.
The second group is the One Design Keelboat classes and in Kinsale there are two of these – the Dragon (three crew) and the Squib (two or three crew). These classes are designed for racing only and as the name suggests they are all the same, built to exacting rules meaning that their relative performances are identical and it is the condition of the boat and the skill of the sailor only that makes the difference. Dragons and Squibs race on Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons. As both classes are relatively light and narrow they can easily be put on a trailer and pulled behind an average family car to regattas all over the country and Europe.
The third group is the One Design Dinghy classes and in Kinsale there are three of these – the Laser, the A-Class Catamaran and the Optimist, all are singlehanded classes. Dinghy sailing is the best place to learn the basic skills of sailing and all great sailing champions started their careers in dinghies. The Optimist is a junior class for young people up to the age of 16. The class is ideal for aquiring sailing skills either through a training programme, as run by Kinsale Yacht Club’s Junior Training Programme, or on the very thorough national and international competition circuits. The Laser is another fantastic class as, with the same hull, three different rig choices are available, the choice being made depending on the sailor's ability, weight and level of fitness. The A-Class is a highly refined, high-performance catamaran and is most definitely for the experienced sailor.
Mid-week racing is generally short course racing, for the One Design classes and often involves multiple starts. Weekend club racing is generally over longer courses as there is more time available.
In the menu bar to the left is a section on each class including the class' details, the racing calendar, the official notice board, results, picture gallery, open meeting listings and the Class Captain's Newsletter.