National Championships 2023

The 2023 IDRA 14 National Championships were held from 24th - 26th August hosted by Lough Ree Yacht Club. PRO Alan Algeo assisted by Eileen Browne, David Dickson and Ian Sargent stuck to schedule and managed to fit in a practice race on Wednesday, five championship races plus the hotly contested ‘Crews Race’ over the couple of days.  

Those partaking in Wednesday evenings practice race joined the local Shannon One Design boats on a course opposite the clubhouse with light winds. Family and friends ashore were able to enjoy a sundowner on the club veranda while watching the IDRA 14s, SOD’s and even a number of rowing skiffs pass by in front of the club in the late August sunshine.  

Thursday’s weather conditions provided a lively enough start to the 2023 National Championships with westerly winds of Force 4 blowing the cobwebs off the 12 strong fleet. An Olympic course was set and the first beat to the windward mark didn’t put a huge divide in the fleet but as the boats rounded the windward mark it was a race for who was to set their spinnaker first to take flight which really started to heat things up on the race course. Clontarf’s 14/163 Philip Hackett and Dan Kinlay led the fleet, hot on their heels was 14/134 in a new pairing of reigning National Champion Simon Revill (HYC) and Orla Doogue (CY&BC) closely followed by 14/122 Catherine Martin and Brian Murphy (DMYC) fighting it out with Sutton Dinghy Club’s 14/38 Alan Carr and Callum Delehanty. Race 1 also saw a tight race between the CY&BC boats with first timer’s Brendan Murphy and Tom Farrelly in 14/123 crossing the line ahead of 14/141 Ronan O’Brien and Matthew Bray followed by Ronan’s 12 year old daughter Aibigéal O’Brien crewing for Donal Heney in 14/166 where the three boats all finished within a boat length of each other. 14/134 secured the top spot in Race 1. 

Philip Hackett and Dan Kinlay lead the fleet in 14/163 

There were a number of new faces to the IDRA 14 Nationals this year with CY&BC Youth Boat 14/114 Swift lining up for its first National Championship with ‘Swifties’ Hannah Potter and Orlaith Connolly sharing helming and crewing responsibilities throughout the event. The Swifties christened themselves in Lough Ree during the first race but brushed it off and got stuck into race 2. The Youth team were very well represented with two other Swifties taking to the water as crew in other boats in the fleet too.  

Race 2 was another Olympic Course in a steady force 4. A number of boats were caught out in gusts and the swim count went up throughout the competitive fleet. Some unfortunate and unpredictable gear failure on 14/134 caused them to lose their forestay and as soon as this had been secured in the boat again the run of misfortune continued with damage to the gooseneck preventing the boom from staying secure. To add to this misfortune ass they rounded the final leeward mark for the race finish the outhaul failed causing a wobble. 14/38 took the opportunity to secure first place while 14/134 did some housekeeping and tidied the boat up under pressure from a very fast approaching 14/122. The race was on and 14/134 limped across the line half a boat length ahead of 14/122. All boats returned ashore after completing the two scheduled races a bit more tired and in more pain than expected on day one!  

Lough Ree delivered some slightly lighter Westerly conditions on day 2 with (this day had windward leeward courses for a change)winds in the range of force 3 / 4 with intermittent heavy downpours, the lighter wind was welcomed by the fleet. It was a family affair on 14/161(DMYC) with Pierre Long joined by his son Paul as crew who fought strongly in the top end of the fleet securing a 4th place finish. Race 4 concluded and brought a discard into play with 14/134 able to discard the 2nd place finish of the previous day they were 3 points ahead going into day 3. 14/38 and 14/122 had it all to play for with just one point dividing them on 6 and 7 points respectively. 4th position 14/163 (13 points), 5th position 14/1 (14 points) and 6th position 14/161 (16 points) closely following.  

After a number of years of the ‘Crews Race’ not being raced due to weather limits, time constraints etc 2023 was the year of the most competitive line up with almost the entire fleet swapping roles and harnesses in the boats. Eleven starters included a mix of some who would never helm, rarely helm and sometimes helm making the white sails only race a spectacle for all on the committee boat and support boats. The starting line was a little louder than the previous four races in the championship with shouts of ‘up, up’, ‘starboard’ and cries of ‘please don’t hit my boat’ being heard echoing around Lough Ree. 

Paul Long helms 14/161 Dart with his father Pierre Long as crew

14/161 Paul Long led to the windward mark followed by 14/134 Orla Doogue hot on his heels. The club team spirit was well and truly alive as shouts from 14/122 Brian Murphy following and pointing out the correct mark to his fellow DMYC member Paul made for an exciting race as course adjustments were made. 14/163, 14/141 and 14/38 followed to the gybe mark as the wind picked up. It was the gybe mark that was the real game changer for positions as some decided to gybe while others opted for two tacks. 14/161 Paul Long put in a strong performance with 14/134 Orla Doogue and the rest of the fleet breathing down his transom, he seemed confident and unphased. Unfortunately a tactical decision as rounding the leeward mark meant 14/134 Orla gained the lead followed by 14/38 Callum Delehanty in second position for the race to the finish line. While it was not Orla’s first time competing as crew in the IDRA 14 National Championship, it was her first time partaking in the Crew Race and she was delighted to be up there on the podium with Callum and Paul who took part in 2023’s Championship as their debut. There is a bright future ahead in the IDRA 14 fleet if the crew's race is anything to go by and it showed the potential for 11 future helms lined up!

Aibigéal O Brien helms 14/166 Wicked Sadie with Donal Heney as crew

Sinead Mongan helms 14/138 Sapphire with Lorcan O'Sullivan as crew

Callum Delehanty helm 14/38  Starfish with Alan Carr as crew

Orla Doogue helms 14/134 to victory in the Crew Race with Simon Revill celebrating

Saturday’s forecast was windier conditions and after a short postponement ashore, boats launched in a Northwesterly force 5 which built to force 6 in squalls with rolling waves over the open water of Lough Ree. Further postponement afloat led some people to begin to think the racing would be abandoned. However a triangular course was set and after eagerness shown by the fleet to get going causing a general recall, a restart followed for what was a quick shortened course with 14/134 securing the National Championship – helm Simon Revill HYC and crew Orla Doogue CY&BC. 

14/126 crewed by Charles Sargent and son-in-law Ed Fleming (SDC) proved that their time spent together racing IDRA 14’s gave them the upper hand. With knowledge of the boat's quirks and a couple of extra years on them they pipped the girls in 14/114 Swift (CY&BC) who came in a very respectable second place. An impressive result with the weather conditions and them being the lightest boat on the water. More impressive Hannah and Orlaith have been sailing Swift for less than a year and no doubt will be a force to be reckoned with. 14/166 Donal and Aibigéal (CY&BC) finished in third place much to the delight of Aibigéal who was competitively racing both her instructors Hannah and Orlaith as well as her father Ronan O’Brien in 14/141.

This was Simon’s tenth gold medal in the IDRA 14 fleet between crew and helm positions. Securing his fifth consecutive win as helm matching what was achieved by Terry Harvey in 1987. Winning her first medal at a National Championships, Orla was delighted to follow in the footsteps of her uncle Sean Deane who won as crew in the 70s. The connection within the IDRA 14 class between families was as strong as ever during this year’s Championships with parents and their children racing together and against each other, Grandparents on race duties with grandchildren racing, siblings on race support boats and a boat consisting of father in law / son in law.


The IDRA 14 class enjoyed the hospitality of Lough Ree Yacht Club who hosted a BBQ on Saturday night followed by the prizegiving. Class Commodore Donal Heney explained how this was a time of change for the class and gave updates about the class's success and challenges. One thing is for sure it was great to see so many new faces on the start line and a new generation eager to get involved and continue the superb work done by others. Chit chat, catch ups and celebrations continued into the very early hours closing a successful 75th edition of the IDRA 14 National Championships.

Congratulations to all competitors

Gold Fleet

1st place 14/134 Dubious - Simon Revill & Orla Doogue HYC/CY&BC

2nd place 14/38 Starfish - Alan Carr & Callum Delehanty SDC

3rd place 14/122 Diane - Catherine Martin & Brian Murphy DMYC

Silver Fleet

1st place 14/126 Smurfette - Charles Sargent & Ed Fleming SDC

2nd place 14/114 Swift - Hannah Potter & Orlaith Connolly CY&BC

3rd place 14/166 Wicked Sadie - Donal Heney & Aibigéal O'Brien CY&BC