Champions Crowned | 2024 GBR IRC National Championships

 GBR IRC National Championships. © Ian Roman
 GBR IRC National Championships. © Ian Roman

2024 International Paint Poole Regatta Final Report

25-27 May 2024

With a gentle start, a boisterous middle day, and a fresh conclusion, mostly in sunshine, the 2024 International Paint Poole Regatta organisers and competitors alike couldn't have asked more from the weather for the 2024 GBR IRC National Championships

With a gentle start, a boisterous middle day, and a fresh conclusion, mostly in sunshine, the 2024 International Paint Poole Regatta organisers and competitors alike couldn't have asked more from the weather for the GBR IRC National Championships.

Results Link

Overall GBR IRC National Champion JPK 1080 Yes! leads the fleet © Ian Roman

The full series was completed for all classes on all courses, with the combination of Poole Bay and Harbour giving racers the perfect location for fair competition. Combine that with backdrops that include Old Harry Rock and Studland beaches on one side, then Bournemouth beachfront on another, and you have a great amphitheatre for yacht racing.

The final day arguably provided the best conditions of all, with up to 20 knots of wind and mostly sunshine, completing the superb event on a high.

This year the event included the GBR IRC National Championships for the first time, which added extra spice, and a fair few of the top yacht racing teams in the country. The competition was intense but didn't lose sight of the fact that the main reason we sail is to have fun. There are always a few tense moments when yacht racing in strong winds, but these are quickly forgotten when the drama is over and the joy of sailing in stunning conditions returns.

Race management was slick, with quick turnarounds between races and clear communications with competitors. Combined with the social programme, spread throughout the organising clubs, this was a regatta to remember.

The prize-giving was held at the magnificent Parkstone Yacht Club which, with its incredible views over the second largest harbour in the world, has to be one of the best in the country. The GBR IRC National Championships Awards were presented by RORC CEO Jeremy Wilton, while Regatta President Andrew Pearce presented the Canford Cup, which is the oldest trophy in sailing. Andrew also thanked the army of volunteers and the sponsors, who without this event simply wouldn't happen.

Double Olympic Gold Medallist Sarah Ayton collected the winners trophy (Video below).

Red Course

JPK 1080 Yes! © Ian Roman

Adam Gosling's JPK 1080 Yes! overcame a rocky start to the event and didn't put a step wrong from race 5 onwards in IRC 2. Their performance not only won them the class, but also the crown of overall GBR IRC Champions. 

Double Olympic Gold Medallist Sarah Ayton with the GBR IRC National Championship Trophy © Ian Roman

James Chalmets' J/112 Happy Daize and Charles & Rosie Berry's J/109 Jenie completed the IRC 2 podium.

Carkeek 41 Rán © Ian Roman

Niklas Zennstrom's Carkeek 41 Rán continued Saturday's form in IRC 0, knocking in another pair of bullets to win the class by 2 points from Karl Kwok's TP52 Beau Geste. The three most powerful yachts at the event were a sublime sight in the bay, and it was great that the Parkstone Yacht Club youth sailors had a chance to look around James Neville's Ino Noir during the event.

Cape 31 Bullit © Ian Roman

Julian Metherell's Cape 31 Bullit wrapped up the win in IRC 1, but by no means had things all their way after their strong start to the event. The U-Flag penalty for Nick Phillips' Cape 31 Chaotic in race 6 derailed their charge, but winning race 7 had them pushing the leaders hard, but in the end, they only just finished second overall, tied on points with Ben Pritchard's Akheilos, making it a podium clean sweep for the Cape 31s.

MG 346 Haven KJ Enigma © Ian Roman

Green Course

Ian Braham's MG 346 Haven KJ Enigma had it all on in IRC 3, having to hastily complete repairs to a torn mainsail overnight which forced them to retire from race 6, but the setback clearly galvanised the team, who finished second and first in the concluding races, which meant they overhauled James Crew & Peter Rutter's Half Tonner Quokka to win the class. Sam and Sophie Pearson' Dehler 33 Ruthless completed the podium.

Quarter Tonner Protis © Ian Roman 

Pink Course

'Team Hamble' on the Quarter Tonner Protis similarly only had a single imperfection on their scorecard in IRC 4, giving them a 13-point winning margin ahead of Andrew Rushworth's Limbo 6.6 Marmite and Annie & Nick Haigh's Fire Fox RF290. Helm Ian Southworth and the Protis team were awarded the historic Canford Cup for their performance, which Tony Kilby happily collected at the prize-giving.

Protis' Tony Kilby with The Canford Cup

This really has been a regatta to remember. Once again, a huge thank-you to the volunteers, title sponsor International Paint, silver sponsors Haven Knox-Johnston and Poole Harbour Commissioners, bronze sponsors Savills and Stoneways Marine, marketing partner The Knot Agency, spirits partner Salcombe Distilling Co., and beer partner Sandbanks Brewery.

International Paint Poole Regatta © Ian Roman

International Paint confirmed during the prize-giving that they will be continuing as title sponsor, with the event dates being set for 23rd to 25th May 2026.

Report by Mark Jardine

Picture Gallery from Ian Roman here

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