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Icon Cup – New competition format announced

by Mike Lyons 27 Aug 2014 15:01 BST March 2014

Dinghy Match Racing is not a new concept but is barely known in the UK. Yet most fleet racers engage in boat-on-boat tactics regularly and it is part of the stuff than makes team racing so different. But until now there has been an absence of real 'stand-alone' dinghy match racing.

The Icon Cup will be held at Frensham Pond SC in March of next year using several flights of Icon dinghies. The format will be a knock-out competition over a long weekend in boats provided by the Icon CA and new Icon builder Rondar Raceboats. Sailracer are putting together the logistics that will include on-board cameras, live tracking and links to the web. They will also be issuing invitations to some of the best dinghy crews in the country as well as to a few well known 'wild card' entries. It is hoped that in time the Icon Cup can grow into a complimentary 'season opener' and gain the same sort of support, reputation and following as the Endeavour Trophy.

The races themselves will be held over a simple tight windward-leeward course and be no longer than 20 minutes in duration with fast turn-arounds. This is intended to maximise the boat-on-boat interaction as off-wind legs then becomes highly tactical in this form of racing. The use of the new 2-sail Icon will also allow a wide range of crew sizes and 'home class' backgrounds to quickly get up to speed in what for nearly all of them will be a new challenge.

The Icon Cup and events leading up to it are already being supported by Rondar Raceboats, North One-Design, Harken, Sailracer and of course the Icon class association. Further supporters will be announced soon. The steering group established are very grateful to Frensham Pond SC who will be hosting the inaugural Icon Cup event.

Simon Lovesey of Sailracer says, "It will be fascinating to see how the invited crews, many of them already be well known to the dinghy community, adapt to a new boat and the match racing competition format. We can also see match racing in Icons growing into something many more can follow and appreciate live via the web."

Paul Young of Rondar, "We are delighted to be involved with Icon, both now as builder, and as a first-level supporter of the Icon Cup. We will be marketing Icon both here and in North America very soon and think that match racing in dinghies is a great concept."

The first opportunity to see some paired Icons was at 'Sailfest' at Calshot over the recent bank holiday weekend. The Icon Class Association with Sailracer are also planning a limited number of trial match racing days at interested clubs during the Autumn. Races will be held close to the shore to both entertain and keep spectators in the picture.

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